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Farmer/Herder Crises: Experts Fault Poor Awareness

Poor awareness on the pastoral system fit for the multiplicity of the Nigerian society is said to be at the core of the lingering conflicts between farmers and herders in the country.

This is largely due to widespread compromise in the nation’s news media, said experts at a workshop on fake news and insecurity in Nigeria, held at Starview hotel, Abuja.

A former Research Scientist at the International Livestock Centre for Africa and one-time Chairman, Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), Dr. Junaidu Maina said different livestock models exist but remain unknown or widely misunderstood.

This, according to the Chief Executive Officer, JM Global Associates Ltd, Abuja has caused governments to make arbitrary choices, often confusing one model for the other, thus prolonging the crisis.

He particularly faulted the Nigerian government’s concept of ranching, saying Nigeria lacks the land and technological resources to drive it.

He highlighted other causes of conflict between farmers and herders in the country to include scarcity of land resulting from population growth, encroachment of existing grazing reserves and among others, climate change.

Dr. Maina however tasked journalists to always scrutinize government legislations against pastoralism to set the pace for positive change in the agricultural sector.
Journalists in Nigeria equally have the task of changing existing narratives on the farmer/herder conflict to focus on the real issues underlying the conflict for a more thorough solution, said Dr. Saleh Momaleh of the Kaduna Peace Commission.

Creating ‘appropriate’ awareness, building confidence and community relations as well as minimise fear, Dr. Momaleh said is one task journalists in Nigeria must pursue.

In doing this, the Publisher of Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi said journalists must be accountable, independent, transparent, community-based reporters and minimize harm in their practice.

The workshop tagged, “Understanding and Responding to Fake News Exacerbating Fears and Insecurity in the Country,” organized by Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) from 13th to 14th July, 2018 centered on the dangers of fake news and hate speech on national growth, security and development in Nigeria.

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