UN wades into farmers-herdsmen clashes in Nigeria, reveals findings
As part of efforts to mitigate the herdsmen-farmers crisis in some parts of Nigeria, the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) has visited the country and met with key stakeholders to discuss the protracted conflict affecting numerous communities, particularly in Benue and Nasarawa states.
The UN said it had discovered that a piecemeal approach will not address the prevalent cycle of violence and multi-faceted nature of the herder-farmer conflict, instead a comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses the root causes of the conflict while reducing the vulnerability of communities to protection risks is required.
Lucky Musonda, a spokesman for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
It said during the mission, the UNTFHS led by Ms. Mehrnaz Mostafavi facilitated a training workshop aimed at equipping implementing partners with the required knowledge and practical skills to apply the human security approach within the context of the country’s middle-belt.
The workshop held under the theme “Applying the Human Security Approach to Operationalize the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus in Nigeria”.
“Participants at the workshop appreciated the important role guaranteed human security plays in fostering socioeconomic development in the country.
“The visiting team shared insights into the significance of the human security approach as a framework for policy-making in complex development challenges,” the statement added.
While in Makurdi, Benue State capital, the team met with representatives of civil society organizations, farmers associations, local and state government representatives, community elders, traditional leaders, and representatives of local and international non-governmental organizations with whom they exchanged information on key elements of the human security approach which could be employed in promoting dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts, especially between the herdsmen and farmers in the region.
The team later engaged in a policy dialogue in Abuja, organized by UNDP, in collaboration with UNHCR and FAO.
The event, dubbed “Transitioning from humanitarian relief to long-term development: Addressing the herdsmen-farmers conflict in Nigeria” brought together senior UN representatives in the country, experts from national and local governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector, and explored several policy options that could be adopted in the quest to end the conflict.
Key among the recommendations was the advocacy for comprehensive solutions, preventive and mitigating measures, which requires all key stakeholders are integrated into policy planning and response frameworks thereby strengthening long term resilience and safeguarding sustainable development.
The Policy dialogue also served as a platform to enhance multi-stakeholder partnerships to support implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan.
“The Human security approach recognizes the full array of challenges that can both propel the devastating force of a crisis and undercut prospects for sustainable peace and development.
“This essential understanding presents opportunities to complement immediate humanitarian efforts, while helping to shape long-term solutions that put people on the path to towards inclusive and sustainable development.” UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon said in his opening statement at the event in Abuja.
Chief of the United Nations Human Security Unit, who is also leading the team, Ms. Mehrnaz Mostafavi noted that the challenges to human security of both farmers and herders and activities are structured around addressing the numerous risks to safeguard livelihoods and promote peace”.