Ex-FCT Minister blames politicians over crisis
From: AgroNature Admin
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at the ongoing 2-day National Stakeholders Forum has issued warning of impending hunger in the country if the persistent farmers-herdsmen crisis is not urgently addressed.
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba gave the warning during a forum organized by the Alumni Association of National Institute (AANI) in partnership with the Presidential Committee on Small and Light Weapons (PRESCOM), in Abuja.
The event which had participants from across the sector including Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) officials was themed, “Eradication of Farmers-Herders Conflicts in Nigeria”.
The labour stated that prior to this administration when there was no such crisis; the country was struggling on food production and was net importer of food, not to mention the current pastoral conflicts which may cause food shortage.
Wabba, who was represented by General Secretary, National Union of Garment and Textile Workers of Nigeria, (NUTGTWN), Comrade Issa Aremu, described the herders as Nigerians contrary to claims by President Muhammadu Buhari, emphasizing that the herders are the nation’s ‘compatriot’.
His words: “Often the media report the conflicts in terms of farmers and herders and there are questions if they are really from Nigeria. They are actually our own compatriots and as we say in the labour movement, an injury to one is an injury to all. It is not just an injury to themselves but an injury to us as Nigerians.
“It is actually an agrarian crisis we have in our hands. We have problem of food production because even when there were no conflicts, Nigeria is still food dependent. We were importing milk, livestock, food stuffs including rice and moving towards food sufficiency.”
“Is it when we have conflicts that we will get out of the agrarian crisis?” he queried.
According to him, “I think it is important we call a spade a spade that this is not just conflict between farmers and herders but the challenge of nation building with respect to food production. I think we should not reduce the casualty to statistics. You hear today that 30 have died, 20 have died but we should know that these are human beings that are being killed. We are talking of depletion of very limited skills.”
He argued further that over the years, the nation has developed skills of the pastoralists and farmers in terms of increased production, yet it is losing them to the crisis.
“It will take a long time to replace them. From the Labour point of view, it is also human crisis that we have in our hand and if we want to put it point blank, it is labour crisis,” he added urging the AANI to partner with the Nigerian Army to resolve the problem.
In his remarks, former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Aliyu Modibbo blamed politicians in the country for their alleged involvement in the crisis.
He said politicians have exacerbated the crisis and infused it with criminality, thus need to call them to order.
Modibbo called for tolerance, adding that the responsibility lays on the Federal Government to manage the challenge of porous border if that was major cause of herdsmen/farmers problem.
He said the problem should be addressed holistically especially with supports from traditional and religious leaders in the country.
“Whether we like it or not we must live in harmony and tolerance.
“Some of the gory pictures you see on the social media, you wonder, really if it is farmers-herdsmen conflict. Why would a child be killed or woman slaughtered. Why will the intestine be opened out if there is something really fundamental that we need to examine in our society,” Modibbo added.