KADUNA- Participants at a workshop on the economic costs of conflicts in the Middle Belt have advocated creation of support fund for people displaced by pastoralists and farmers conflicts.
This is part of the participants’ resolution adopted in Kaduna on Tuesday.
They said apart from using the funds to resettle displaced persons, it would also provide psychological support and therapy to victims.
They also suggested the establishment of a “National Commission for Grazing Reserves’’ to manage and run the reserves effectively.
According to the resolution, the commission will be mandated to provide schools, electricity and others social amenities to help the nomads remain within the reserves throughout the year.
“Such measures will bring to an end most of the communal crises in the affected states,’’ the participants said.
They called on the various tiers of governments in Nigeria to revive the grazing reserves and protect them against encroachment so as to reduce the rate of pastoralists and farmers conflict.
The workshop examined the reports compiled by the MercyCorps, an international non-governmental organisation on conflicts between the two groups in Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa States.
Earlier, Lisa Inks, Director of Conflict Management, had presented a study on the economic cost of conflict in the affected states.
According to the study, Nigeria stands to gain more than 11.7 billion US dollars from macroeconomic activities in the four states if current conflicts would be curtailed.
The study pointed out that Kaduna, Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau lost as much as N298 million in internally generated revenue and taxes due to conflicts in 2012.
“Agriculture, including crop farming and livestock rearing, and trade, are the sectors hardest hit by pastoralists and farmers conflict and are also central to the Middle Belt and Nigeria’s economy,’’ it stated.
The study indicated that reduction in pastoralists and farmers’ conflicts will raise Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2.3 percent.
The participants were drawn from the media, civil society groups and the policy makers.