International Organisation for Migration, (IOM), Search for Common Ground and Mercy Corps Nigeria are wading into farmers and herders clashes in Adamawa and Taraba States through the commencement of the second phase of the project, ‘Contribution to the Mitigation of Conflict Over Natural Resources Between Farmer and Herder Communities (COMITAS).
Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Laurent De Boeck explained that the COMITAS project aims at finding tradition solutions to conflicts between farmers and herders in Adamawa state through strengthened traditional conflict resolution system and a systematic early warning and early response mechanisms.
He made this known at a meeting of the COMITAS Project Steering Committee on the extension of the project to Taraba state, yesterday in Abuja.
The Chief of Mission noted that during the second phase of the project, the consortium will continue to engage all stakeholders ncluding the government, agencies, leaders, and affected communities.
He said: “The expansion of the project to Taraba became necessary because of the linkages between communities in Adamawa and those in the neighbouring LGAs in Taraba who had been displaced due to the farmer herder crisis.
“It also became necessary to expand the project to Guyuk and Shelleng LGAs in Adamawa because these areas have experienced clashes between two farming communities in the past two years. It is hoped that through transformative dialogue and capacity building on natural resource management the participating communities will be able to coexist peacefully.”
De Boeck revealed that in the first phase: “Overall the project reached over 7,960 (2,006 female, 5,954 male) direct participants and 25,237 (6,309 female, 18,928 male) indirect participants from 52 communities within the 5 LGAs of operation which consist of an estimated population of 1,023,700.
“To achieve this, the consortium worked with media outlets, Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Faith Based Organisations, Community-Based Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations.”
Acting Head of Cooperation and Section Democracy Governance and Migration, European Union Delegations to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ruben Aguilera, on his part explained that the EU is trying to encourage other stakeholders to invest in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria especially the farmers and herder crisis.
He said the EU is investing 200 million euros in both the first and second phases COMITAS but “The European Union is investing more than 500 million Euros overall and out of that, around. 100 million Euros goes to security issues and I think we are one of the largest international partners.”
Aguilera said: ” We are also investing heavily in the farmer herders conflict. A lot of people think the biggest challenge in the north east is with insurgency (Boko Haram) but you also know they are other areas and that is why we have been choosing these type of projects, we have chosen Adamawa and Taraba working with some of the local organisations with the states government so that things can be improved that’s why we have taken a decision to expand.
“We are not only involved in Adamawa and Taraba, we are also working in the Northwest, Northeast as well as Niger Delta and other regions like the middle belt. We want to take a comprehensive approach and partner with all levels of government and civil societies to ameliorate the security challenges.”