United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon

The United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) has met with key stakeholders to discuss the protracted conflicts involving herdsmen and farmers in the middle belt.

Many people have been displaced by the conflicts, hundreds have been killed and livelihoods lost.

The UN says the conflicts pose a “formidable threat” to Nigeria’s food security and long-term stability.

In Makurdi, the team met with representatives of civil society organizations, farmers associations, local and state government representatives, community elders, traditional leaders, and representatives of local and international non-governmental organizations.

The team later engaged in a policy dialogue in Abuja, organized by UNDP, in collaboration with UNHCR and FAO.

Among recommendations, the dialogue will advocate for comprehensive solution to prevent and mitigate conflict by taking a “human security” approach.

This dialogue is the first in a series of consultations for the implementation of UNTFHS programme, a 3-year project being implemented by UNDP, UNHCR and FAO in partnership with Benue and Nasarawa State Governments.

“The Human security approach recognizes the full array of challenges that can both propel the devastating force of a crisis and undercut prospects for sustainable peace and development,” said Edward Kallon, UN resident coordinator in Nigeria.

“This essential understanding presents opportunities to complement immediate humanitarian efforts, while helping to shape long-term solutions that put people on the path to towards inclusive and sustainable development.”

Chief of the United Nations Human Security Unit, who is also leading the team, Mehrnaz Mostafavi noted that the challenges to human security of both farmers and herders and activities are structured around addressing the numerous risks to safeguard livelihoods and promote peace.

She added that a piecemeal approach will not address the prevalent cycle of violence and multi-faceted nature of the herder-farmer conflict.

She said instead a comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses the root causes of the conflict while reducing the vulnerability of communities to protection risks is required.