Farmers,Herders Crisis: ‘Over 300,000 People Displaced In Four States’
Zinariya Consult, a research development and policy advocacy actor said it was estimated that more than 300,000 people were displaced in four states due to the farmers and herders crisis in Nigeria.
One of the lead researchers commissioned for the work by Zinariya Consults, Dr Joseph Ochogwu, and Associate Research Professor with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution revealed this while presenting the policy brief.
The research presentation which listed the states as Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and Taraba held on Thursday in Abuja with the topic: “Trends and Dynamics of Conflict between Farmers and Pastoralists in Nigeria’s Benue Valley.
According to Ochogwu, Nigeria’s Benue valley comprising Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Adamawa and Kaduna have experienced escalating tensions between farmers and herders.
This he said had led to deaths, loss of livelihoods, displacements and disruption of states’ economy within the area.
He said that the conflict which was primarily a contest over land and water was threatening the country’s food security and stability.
“The current crisis has assumed ethnic and religious dimensions.
“From 2001 to 2018, about 60,000 deaths were recorded in multiple clashes, it is estimated that more than 300,000 were displaced across states, 176,000 in Benue, about 100,000 in plateau, and 100,000 in Nasarawa and about 19,000 in Taraba.
“These displacements were mainly due to the surge of attacks and counter-attacks by the headers and farmers communities, in Benue alone, it is estimated that the crisis led to more than N400 billion economic losses resulting from destruction of properties.
“Between 2017 and May 2020, 645 attacks were carried out, 2,539 people were killed and 254 kidnappings were recorded in various states in Nigeria.’’
Ochogwu said that key findings of the research included trends and pater of the conflict, gender dimension of the conflict, demographic shift, mental health and psychological support, and community resilience among others.
He noted that between 2018 and 2019, access to water and grazing land became more competitive.
This, Ochogwu noted led to frequent arguments, adding that there was distrust due to differences in ethno-religious and cultural identities and values.
He said that the research made some recommendations to address the farmers and herders crisis in Nigeria which were informed by critical analysis of the trends and dynamics of the conflict in Benue, Plateau and Taraba states.
He said that governments at all levels should work together to deploy a joint task force comprising of Army, Navy, Airforce, Police, para-military and civil institutions to restore law and order and build the population’s confidence in the government.
Ochogwu said that the complex nature of the conflict required participatory, inclusive, coordinated and sustainable solutions.
He urged the state governments to strengthen the already existing community policing structure such as vigilantes for intelligence gathering.
According to him, the research recommended that development partners should partner with the government and community-based organisations to ensure that women are mainstreamed in peace building programmes.
He said that the governments in key states should work with Civil Society Organisations, media organisations, gender and peace building experts to develop programmes using conventional media, and social media among others to deconstruct social norms.
Ochogwu urged the Federal Government to order the investigation of all recent violence between farmers and pastoralists and expedite the trails of individuals or groups found to have participated, sponsored or involved in violence.
He said that the research recommended that governments should work together to tackle youth unemployment and underemployment.
Ochogwu said that state governments in Benue, Plateau and Taraba should recognise the critical role of religious and traditional institutions in peace building in the communities and include them in direct government and policy formulation process.
He said that formal multi-stakeholders alternative resolution mechanism should be set up at the state and council levels, adding that projects on social protection after conflicts such assets transfers and capacity building for income diversification should be supported by government.
The research was carried out by Zinariya with support from Global Rights and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
JAMB Decries Use Of Fake Results For Admission
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has decried the high level of forgery of A Level certificates used for the registration.
JAMB Registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, who raised the alarm, recalled that the Board had commenced the 2023 Direct Entry registration on Monday, 20th February but immediately suspended it following the discovery of the plethora of devices and machinations to circumvent and compromise the standard of A ‘level qualifications required from DE candidates.
He disclosed that out of 148 candidates verified by Bayero University Kano (BUK), only 6 were found to be genuine.
“By implication 142 of the results were forged. Oloyede said. Bayero University, Kano (BUK) has also consistently brought to the fore the high rate of forgery of A’Level qualifications for DE.
“It was discovered that in previous years, some candidates used unacceptable and forged A’ level certificates/ qualifications to register for Direct Entry and eventually got admitted. For example out of 148 candidates verified by BUK, only 6 were found to be genuine. By implication 142 of the results were forged.
“The Board, concerned stakeholders and institutions are working assiduously to detect such and the ones already found are being dealt with according to the provisions of the law.
“In order to further checkmate the anomaly and to also prevent recurrence of such irregularity, the Board has decided that the 2023 DE registrations will not only be restricted to JAMB (Professional Test Centres (PTCs) but will also be done under strict supervision,” Oloyode said.
“The Board has provided additional guidelines to all DE registration outlets (JAMB-owned centres), Officers of the Board and candidates on the 2023 Direct Entry registration exercise:
“At the point of registration, all candidates must fill in Registration/Matriculation Number of the previous school attended where the qualification was obtained; Subject(s) of qualification; Awarding Institution; Institution actually attended”, he said.
‘Nigerians Have Lost Confidence, Trust In INEC’
As post-election crisis gathers momentum, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria’s 2023 general elections has declared that Nigerians have lost confidence and trust in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) owing to lack of transparency and operational failures.
The EU EOM Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, made the assertion at a Media Briefing to present the Mission’s second preliminary reports, in Abuja, Monday.
Andrews noted that although Nigerians had great appetite for democracy and keen to engage in various civic activities, their expectations were dashed.
According to him, the apathy recorded at the governorship and states House of Assembly elections conducted last Saturday was a clear consequence of failures by political elites and “unfortunately, INEC.”
Andrews said: “Obstruction and organised violence limited the free expression of the will of the voters, despite efforts by civil society to promote democratic standards.
“Throughout the Mission, we saw that Nigerians have a great appetite for democracy and are keen to engage in various civic activities. However, in many parts of the country, their expectations were not met.
“Many were disappointed and we witnessed voter apathy that is in part, a clear consequence of failures by political elites, and unfortunately, also by INEC.
“Positively, INEC introduced some corrective measures ahead of Saturday’s polls, allowing a timely delivery of sensitive materials and improved use of election technologies, yet, the institution continued to lack transparency.”
The Mission also observed that voting started early with INEC ad-hoc officials present and ready to serve voters, but the exercise was unfortunately, disrupted by “multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation of voters, polling officials, observers, and journalists”.
The Mission noted that Lagos, Kano, and other States in the Southern, Northern and Central parts of the country were mostly affected, adding that the election was equally characterised by casualties, fatalities, as well as vote-buying, which according to the observers, further detracted from an appropriate conduct of elections.
“EU EOM observers also saw misuse of administrative resources, including through various financial and in-kind inducements to voters, giving an undue advantage to the party in power.
“Furthermore, the protracted deadlines for candidacy disputes created uncertainty for voters and electoral contestants alike, while clear underrepresentation of women as candidates demonstrated a stark lack of internal party policies to support constitutionally prescribed inclusion
‘Youths To Benefit From Climate Change Innovation Hub’
The Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Sani Tambuwal, has expressed optimism that the recently established National Climate Change Innovation Hub would help in harnessing the potential among Nigerian youths towards addressing climate issues.
The CNA stated this during the commemoration of the 2023 Commonwealth Day with the theme ‘Forging A Sustainable And Peaceful Common Future’ held at the instance of National Assembly management, in Abuja, Monday.
Represented by the Deputy Clerk, National Assembly (DCNA), Barrister Kamoru Ogunlana, Tambuwal observed that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and other climate issues in the world if not properly managed, would posed great danger to world peace and a sustainable future.
He assured that Federal Government had put measures in place to address some issues on climate change through the establishment of youth climate change hub to harness their ideas and include them in decision-making process as well as develop long-term vision for zero gas emissions.
In her presentation, Mrs. Rabi Audu stressed the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders towards forging a sustainable and peaceful environment.
Audu also urged the youths to engage in activities and programmes that would promoter innovations and inclusivity for all.
According to her, governments and parliaments have to increase opportunities for schools across the Commonwealth countries, adopt higher education partnerships and development programmes that would lead to economic growth, social inclusion and environmental conservation.
While noting that the establishment of more programmes like the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) would aid the attainment of these, Audu further stressed the need for Commonwealth member countries to establish technical and vocational education that would help in gainfully equipping the youths with skills to further tackle high rate of youth unemployment.
Some of the students who participated in the programme tasked parliaments across Commonwealth member States on the need to hold their governments to account particularly on the areas of public spending, international crisis, investment sustainability and promotion of the benefits of inclusive and diverse representation in truly open societies.
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