Insecurity: Act On Early Warning Signals, Stakeholders Urge Security Agencies

 From  Joseph Amedu, Lokoja

Stockholding attending a 2-day Conflict Management and Resolution Workshop have urged security agencies to respond fast to early warning signals of conflict to tackle the rising cases of violent clashes between farmers and herders in the country. The 2-day training which was organised by a Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Technoserve and Synergos Nigeria drew stakeholders from Kogi,  Benue, and  Kaduna States.

Our Correspondent reports that the training workshop under the auspices of the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) ended over the weekend in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

The participants who were trained on application of 10 modules of conflict resolution expressed delight that they were now better equipped to handle conflicts of interests between the two warring sides.

The participants were drawn from the Ministries of Agriculture, Fadama and other key departments, Parastatals, security agencies and the media from the three states.

Dr Joseph Shopade, a consultant with Technoserve, called on government and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector to address the Farmers/Herdsmen clashes hostilities  through  removal of the layers of issues that engender the conflicts.

The conflict resolution expert said the Onion Model approach was the best option as it enabled resolution of the issues that resulted in the crisis which were mostly threat to livelihood of the parties.

Also speaking, Dr Stephen Faleti, a research fellow at the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, said escalation dynamics were ignored at the onset of conflicts.

Faleti said there must have been early warning signals which were ignored or not adequately addressed.

Prof. Ayo Hammed, a Counseling and Personnel Psychologist said there was need for proper understanding of the background of the conflicts and involvement of various primary and secondary (shadow) parties.

He said every conflict provided opportunities for positive development and urged the participants to deploy the techniques and strategies learnt to resolve or address conflict situations.

Mr Obosi Philip, Technoserve Project Coordinator for the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) said the workshop was informed by the  prevailing clashes in Benue and parts of Kogi and Kaduna States.

“We deem it fit to have this workshop to re-orientate decision makers in key agricultural sectors as well as security officers on how to mediate and bring about peaceful resolution.

“It also enables the participants to mediate in conflict situations in rural areas  because it is affecting the overall agricultural production and key value chains in those states”, Phillip said.