The Director-General of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Monday blamed the lack of forest governance for the insecurity and cases of farmers/herders clashes across the country.
Aminu-Kano told newsmen in Lagos on the sidelines of the World Population Day, that the breaking of the nation’s environmental security system resulted in recent security crisis.
He explained that while the nation’s population was growing, its natural resources were shrinking due to human activities.
According to him, the absence of rangers and other farm settlement officials has reduced forests surveillance, thereby increasing risk of criminal habitation in the bushes.
The NCF D-G noted that the situation was leaving a vacuum for criminals to operate as bandits, terrorists and fueling farmers/herders clashes using unpoliced forest areas as hide outs.
“The root cause of our current insecurity is the environment, whether it is Boko Haram, bandits or herdsmen/farmers clashes. It is the environment and our lack of attention to it over the years.
“The drying of Lake Chad is a popular thing that people mention, but desert encroachment and deforestation are other problems that have made people poor and make them easily recruited into any of these bad groups.
“There is no more government staff that knows every inch of the forest and knows when bandits or people use the forests as hideout.
“Those ones are gone now, the governments are no longer recruiting people and they are not paying salaries to some of the staff they have recruited. So these ungoverned places have been taken over by bandits and other criminals,’’ Aminu-Kano said.
He explained that though certain controversial policies to end farmers/herders clashes were difficult to implement, livestock production through ranching was the best option.
Aminu-Kano said that there were more than two million herds of cattle, goats and other animals in the nation such that ranching cannot be achieved overnight but should be a long term solution.
“So, we have to have a proper plan and graduate to how to implement this livestock ranching option,’’ he said.
He said that farmers/herders clashes had existed even in America when the Cowboys clashed with farmers before the country introduced ranching.