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Stakeholders have called for the review of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on free movement of persons, goods and animals. The call was made yesterday during the consultative security meeting on herders/farmers crisis at the multipurpose hall of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Jalingo, Taraba State.
Seeking permanent solutions to herders/farmers upheaval in the state, the stakeholders unanimously agreed that ECOWAS transhumance regulations approved in 2003 “is not the problem, but absence of movement control structures in the country.”Led by the secretary of the committee on herders/farmers crisis, Andre Akwasari, they opined that cases involving grazers and farmers should not be swept under the carpet.
They suggested strengthening of the peace and reconciliation committee in the state, as well as employment of advisers on farming and livestock in every council of the state.
According to them, all persons indicted in herders/farmers unrests should be arrested and prosecuted.Optimistic that government’s dream of ensuring peace is achievable, they called on the government to fashion out ways of halting arms proliferation, which they agreed was brought about by distrust and self-defence.
They urged state security operatives to collaborate with state governments in selection and training of livestock marshals for successful implementation of the ranching laws.
“Politicians should also stop the game of winner-takes-all instead of governance for all,” they advised, while urging government to strengthen the capacity of traditional rulers, especially in the areas of conflict mediation “by holding them accountable.” This, they believe, will go a long way in uniting farmers and grazers.
The meeting, which brought together traditional rulers, farmers, grazers, opinion leaders, among others, pleaded with the state governor to create “a structure for direct interface with stakeholders with genuine information or seeking clarification.”