The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has appealed to the governments of member states, especially Nigeria to address climate change issues to end farmers/herdsmen clashes in the region.
Mr Ernest Aubee, the ECOWAS Principal Programme Officer, Agriculture, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Aubee said that the issues could be addressed through planting of more trees, grasses and fodders, adding that this would encourage herdsmen to reside in one place and discourage encroachment into farmlands.
“Farmers and herdsmen have lived together for many years, they have co-habited.
“If you look at farmers and herdsmen, they are after the same objective which is to provide food. You sell and make money.
“What is important is to create an understanding, a dialogue process because the clashes benefit no-one.
“The farmer wants the land to cultivate and sell, the herdsmen are looking for grazing land and water, so it is a question of resources.
“The current climate change issues have to a great extent resulted in the clashes.
“We must also address the issues of climate change in looking at the issues of movement of animals.
“The government must do everything possible to plant more trees, more grasses, fodders so that the herdsmen can benefit and do not go into other people’s farms,” he said.
The ECOWAS official said the commission was also working assiduously to tackle the problem at the regional level.
He said that the ECOWAS was engaging the two groups to talk at the regional level, because the problem of herdsmen and farmers was not just a Nigerian problem.
“You have it in other parts of the region, although on different scales,”
“The issue has become a security issue in the region.
“However, the commission is currently implementing the directives of Heads of States and Governments on how to address the challenges,” Aubee said.