Relief coming for victims of herders-farmers conflicts

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State governments will compensate people who have lost their sources of livelihood as a result of the farmers/herders crises, the National Economic Council (NEC) said on Thursday.

The decision was reached after the NEC meeting at the Old Banquet Hall of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Council also resolved that states should incorporate non-indigenous/minority residents into local security initiatives to ensure adequate representation.

The Council, which was presided over by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), also encouraged states to promote the modernisation of livestock farming.

Ogun and Kebbi state governors Dapo Abiodun and Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Office of the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, briefed State House Correspondents after the meeting.

Abiodun said many people suffered losses in attacks and must be compensated.

He the Council would protect all residents without discrimination, adding that governors would also ensure that criminals were arrested and prosecuted.  He said NEC resolved that there must be a public condemnation of hatred against minority groups.

Abiodun said: “Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State updated Council on Security situation and Community Policing as follows:

“The protection of all residents of all states, including non-indigenous communities and religious and ethnic minorities within the states’ jurisdictions; the arrest and prosecution of all perpetrators of crime.

“In collaboration with federal authorities, the reconstruction of destroyed homes and payment of compensation where appropriate by state authorities for damage to property and livelihoods sustained during targeted attacks on communities within their jurisdictions;

“Ensuring that deceased victims of such violence are duly accorded dignified burial rites.

“The immediate public and unequivocal condemnation of all manifestations of hatred, targeted violence and other hate crimes against ethnic, religious and minority groups.

“Ensuring that local security initiatives – whether they are state government law enforcement agencies or local vigilante groups or the Community Policing programme of the Nigeria Police Force – are inclusive and are composed with due consideration given to adequate representation of non-indigenous/minority resident communities.

“Ensuring that all state, local and communal security initiatives operate according to guidelines consistent with State legislation and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other relevant laws and are subjected to rigorous oversight.

“Ensuring that innocent citizens and entire communities are not slandered, harassed or victimized for the crimes perpetrated by criminal elements within those communities on the basis of ethnic or religious affiliation.

“The continuing organisation of and participation in Town hall meetings in the localities where ethnic strife has taken place by Governors representing all geopolitical zones.

”Governors should tell their citizens that there are criminals among the herders, but law-abiding citizens should be protected.”

On the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), Abiodun said: “Every state must have a choice on how it wants to implement it. Council also noted that forest has become a hide-out for criminals and said nobody should live in the forest. Governors in Southern States should visit the Northern states in crisis.

“Governors should develop a plan to deescalate tension and implement it faithfully to diffuse tension. Council generally agreed that the principal thing is to de-escalate the tension and take control of some of the narratives to remove fear.”

Bagudu said NEC received a presentation on Poverty Eradication and Growth Strategy.  He said the presentation outlined the pillars of poverty reduction strategy as redistribution and shared prosperity, macroeconomic stabilisation, economic growth, industrialisation, diversification and trade.

He said there were many ad-hoc schemes, interventions and programmes but poorly coordinated and without holistic agenda or framework to address poverty, frequent policy changes and inconsistencies in implementation.

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