This piece was originally published by Vanguard Nigeria on 1/19/2017. It has been edited for context and clarity.
Prof. Oshita, the Director-General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria, has advocated for stringent measures to curb the lingering farmers/herdsmen clashes in the country.
Oshita said this on Friday in Abuja at a media roundtable organized by Search for Common Ground to discuss solutions to the farmers/herdsmen attacks in parts of the country.
According to him, the crisis can degenerate into a security dilemma, a scenario whereby everybody resolves to owning weapons to protect themselves for fear of the unknown. He said that the proliferation of weapons could also be linked to the uncertainty that citizens are feeling about the ability of the government to protect them. Oshita said that this could become potentially very dangerous for the nation, as too many arms in the communities could breed more crises.
“So we need to take serious measures to end the farmers/herdsmen crisis and not take things for granted, so as not to have a warlord situation due to proliferation of weapons. We need to approach the crisis with all seriousness because it holds potential of redefining what our country really needs in terms of the political configuration.”
Oshita said that the Institute has been doing a lot of research interventions to curb these crises across the country and had flagged early warning signs of the farmers/herdsmen conflict. The Institute’s main publication suggested that this delicate crisis could become very complicated, especially because of its politicization and the narrative around religious and ethnic dimensions. “I hope that we face the conflict squarely by inputting strategic positions at the national level. In the absence of that, states will begin to do whatever pleases them,” Oshita said.
Mrs. Bukola Ademola-Adelehin, the Conflict Analyst for Search for Common Ground, said the organization’s objective is to focus on new development ideas to end the farmers/herders conflict. Ademola-Adelehin said that a partnership between researchers and practitioners in the field of peacebuilding and conflict resolution is necessary for policy makers in Nigeria to proffer lasting solutions to the conflict. “The major solution to solving this crisis is by searching for common ground between the farmers and the herdsmen in the various states,” she said.