The National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, has called for unity and decisiveness to tackle the unabated farmer-herders’ crisis in the country.

Tinubu said in a statement on Saturday that the herder-farmer dispute had taken an acute and violent dimensions and had cost too many innocent lives while destroying the property and livelihoods of many others.

According to him, “as vital as security is to the resolution of this matter, the nation must realise security measures alone will not suffice.”

He said that enhanced security might be the necessary first step, but it could not be the only step.

“This matter is not ethnic in factual origin or actual causation although in the minds and hearts of too many it has become ethnic in recrimination and impulsive action.

“There have been sporadic disputes in the past but this one is more severe. The reasons for the greater violence of this current dispute are myriad, “Tinubu said.

According to him, farmers have a right to farm their land unmolested and herders have a right to raise their livestock without undue interference.

He, however, explained that when conflict between these groups arises to such an extent, the nation must set forth clear principles and policies to remove the tension, in order to allow both to proceed toward their stated goals, to live in harmony and according to their respective rights.

“To destroy the crops or seize the property of the innocent farmer or herder is nothing if not an act of criminality,” he said.

Tinubu noted that unoccupied public land could be fenced into grazing areas or ranches and leased to herders on a very low-cost, nominal basis.

He said the leasing was not intended to penalise herders, rather the nominal fee should be intended to ensure the herders were invested in the project and incentivized to use the land provided.

Tinubu said this aspect would also mitigate any resentment over herders being given land for free.

He urged the government to also assist farmers increase productivity by providing subvention for their acquisition of fertilizer, equipment and machinery.

He said this could be done by establishing commodity boards to guarantee minimum prices for important crops.

NP/Confidence Okwuchi