The Niger State Government and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday met in Abuja to work out modalities to end the perennial crisis between farmers and herdsmen in the state.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, the Niger state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, told reporters that the meeting mostly had to do with livestock and the efforts the state government is making towards addressing the conflict between herdsmen and farmers.
“I give them a rundown of what in my own opinion are the issues and ways to address them.
“And generally, we came to the agreement with regards to what the issues are and solicited for support from the EU to ensure a lasting peace between the herders and the farmers.
“The areas expected to be of assistance to us are likely to be technical, modern ways of handling cattle regarding migrating from our local breeds to better ones that would provide for more milk or beef and to be profitable to identify the cattle that would give you at least 20 litres of milk per day or 600 kilograms of beef in 18 months. So, I think with time there would be some sort of right steps to take,” Bello said.
According to him, they also discussed educational development saying the state has many graduates that have no jobs.
“Unfortunately, everyone wants a white collar job. So, the way forward is to engage people to be involved more in skill acquisition; and to do that, it means we have to get them to develop our technical schools to meet modern requirements to ensure they function effectively,” Governor Bello said.
On his part, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Ketil Karlsen, said the Niger state governor told them about his experiences in ensuring that the herders and farmers clashes can be resolved and that it is something that the EU has followed very closely.
“We have been very supportive of the development of our national lives and livestock transformation plan. And it is good to see how that is starting to transform into implementation on the ground. So, we have been seeing on the bobby crossing land in Niger state and how this can be done in practice.
“And we have been very carefully taking notes; there is a number of European companies engaging and finding business models; and the way forward is having more efficient milk production, having opportunities and livestock opportunities and in Nigeria. So, we believe that this must be part and parcel of the solutions looking ahead,” Karlsen said.
He said that in the shorter term, they would ensure that there are opportunities for all and mediation efforts were needed so that the clashes can be overcome.
He said the clashes were exacerbated to a certain extent by the population growth, conflict in the northeast, and in particular, by population growth and climate change, among others.