Peace between farmers and pastoralists can produce a gain of up to $13.7bn annually bringing economic progress for Nigeria, a study has said.
Patrick Okigbo, a conflict resolution expert, said this on Thursday in Abuja at a dialogue with herders and farmers at Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Okigbo, who is also the Principal Partner, Nextier Advisory quoted a study by Mercy Corps, which claims an average of 47 per cent loss in taxes in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria.
He said, “On the other hand, peace between farmers and pastoralists, can produce a gain of up to $13.7bn annually in total macroeconomic progress.’’
He said conflicts are typically over scarce economic resources.
He said, “There is a risk that they will be comingled with the volatile political under-currents across various regions in Nigeria to trigger a different type of conflict.
“These conflicts have direct costs on market development and economic growth by eroding trust among market actors, destroying productive assets, preventing trade, and deterring investment.
“We look at it from the economic point of view and these conflicts have a direct cost on market development and economic.”
Okigbo said that failure to conclusively address these security and terrorism challenges will mean that more resources will be spent on defence and security, and less resources on other economic sectors.
The expert expressed concern on the losses incurred by the nation due to conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, saying that there was need for stakeholders to engage in peace talk constantly.
Okigbo said if there were traditionally conflicts between the farmers and the herders, the nation always suffers major economic losses than political.
He said conflicts which resulted into avoidable loss of lives and destruction of property worth million of naira also impacted negatively on the economic stability of the country.
The General Secretary of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Baba Ngelzarma, said necessary mechanisms should put in place to address the root causes of the conflicts.
Ngelzarma stressed the need for the stakeholders to meet and have reconciliation committee comprising religious heads, community heads, farmers, cattle breeder and security officers.
He called for harmonisation of several resolutions made at different fora on conflicts resolution.
He called, “A lot of resolutions have been made but implementation is lacking, the only thing remaining is to harmonise those resolutions and implement them.
“Let’s have peace and conflict resolution committee that could be meeting all the time that will try to solve the problem as they come.”
A representative of farmers at the occasion, Mr. Salisu Naibi, also toed the line of Ngelzarma in addressing conflict between the farmers and herdsmen.
Naibi stressed the need to involve leaders of community in addressing conflicts between herders and farmers.