Herdsmen/Farmers: Association calls for technical body to address crisis


Herdmen with guns


The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) has urged the Federal Government to constitute a technical committee to evolve solutions to the lingering crises between herdsmen and farmers in the country.

Dr Godwin Abonyi, the President of the association, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

Abonyi spoke against the backdrop of the 2018 World Veterinary Day observed on saturday.

“We need to seek professional and technical solutions.

“Let’s engage and network with veterinarians at the appropriate level who will seat with stakeholders and apply principles of participatory epidemiology instead of using unprofessional and high level people to bring solutions.

“The problem we are having today is that professionals are not involved in resolving herdsmen and farmers crises.

“The services of people that understand the operations of herdsmen are not being utilised, hence the problem lingers.’’

Abonyi decried the number of lives lost daily due to the crises, stressing the urgent need to evolve durable solutions to the problem.

He noted that the problem was more worrisome than any other problems in the country stressing that it ought to be given prompt and immediate attention rather than allowing it to linger.

He appealed to governments at all levels and the society at large to optimise professional skills that abound among veterinarians in the country for the benefit of all Nigerians.

The president further appealed to herdsmen and farmers to end the bloodletting emanating from their incessant clashes.

“Lives are being lost daily and the terrible thing about killing is that it create in-depth enmity that can last over decades, even hundreds of years and people will pass it over to their children.

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“Something drastic, urgent and immediate has to be done so that we can put an end to this unfortunate rivalry between the people that ought to be mutually co-existing.

“Even if it is temporary, a separate body has to be created that is technically sound enough to know how to manage these crises and then solve the problem.”

Commenting on the theme for the celebration, Abonyi noted that it was apt as it was all-encompassing.

He noted that the current situation in the country particularly with regards to the herdsmen/farmers clashes undermined not only undermined sustainable development but directly destroyed human lives the sector was meant to nourish and preserve.

According to him, a large proportion of Nigerians still reside in rural areas, where animals are indispensable for livestock production for food and income.

He said that with the increasing significance of livestock resources to the national wealth and GDP and the challenges of security of lives and property, there was the urgent need to create a separate Ministry of Veterinary and Livestock Resources.

“This ministry will maximise the huge potentials and tackle the festering security challenges as the current ministry had failed to end the crisis.

“I call on government at all levels and the private sector to optimally utilise the available vast and skilled veterinary manpower in the country to tackle the multiple challenges facing the agriculture sector,” Abonyi said.

The theme for the 2018 celebration is “The Role of the Veterinary Profession in Development to Improve Livelihoods, Food Security and Safety.”

WVD is celebrated globally every last Saturday of April annually.

The day is used to highlight and promote the different facets of the work performed by veterinarians worldwide.

It is also designed to raise awareness on their contributions to improve animal health and welfare as well as public health.