To find a lasting solution to the frequent conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, the Presidency is coming up with a conference of stakeholders on infrastructural and agricultural development to put in place a plan for immediate relief and long term plan for the expansion of agriculture in the country.
According to press release signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the conference will tap into experiences and best practices to draw up a planned development 20-30 years ahead based on population and development projections and will take into consideration environmental impacts.
The statement said President is concerned about these conflicts each time he received those very gruesome pictures of mayhem from several parts of the country, especially as it affected Benue and neighbouring states. “He is equally worried about some public pronouncements and finger-pointing that are, in most cases very unhelpful to peaceful coexistence of our diverse peoples.”
Garba Shehu in the statement said the President deeply sympathizes with the families and all the other direct and indirect victims of this violence, and he’s determined to bring it to a permanent end.
He said President Buhari holds the view, as do many experts, that these conflicts are more often than not, as a result of major demographic changes in Nigeria. “When Nigeria attained independence, the population of the country was estimated at about 63,000,000. Today the population is estimated at close to 200,000,000; while the land size has not changed and will not change. Urban sprawl and development have simply reduced land area both for peasant farming and cattle grazing,” Shehu explained.
While reiterating Buhari’s commitment towards ensuring a lasting solution to crisis, Shehu described as unfair and unkind for anyone to keep insinuating that the President is condoning the spate of killings in Benue and other neighboring States.
“The killings must stop and the security agencies have the President’s support to do this as quickly as possible,” Shehu said.
He said to achieve this, the President seeks the support and cooperation of all citizens and the media in particular, to join hands with his administration to find permanent solutions and not to aggravate or escalate tensions in all conflict areas of the country.