UNDP together with its partners have reached an agreement with the Benue State Government and other key stakeholders on the best way to provide support to affected communities as a result of the herdsmen- farmers crisis in the State.
The project team returned to Benue State as part of its continued support towards establishing and strengthening community-level sustainable peace and development. The farmers-herdsmen crisis requires sustained engagements with all stakeholders involved.
During the two-week mission, the project team held a meeting with project partners and key stakeholders in Makurdi. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that partners will provide support to IDPs to undertake crop farming with the provision of seeds and inputs by the UN project team and alternative housing arrangement by the UN.
In line with the activities to support the implementation of the project “Transitioning from Humanitarian relief to long-term development: Addressing the herdmen-farmers Conflict in Nigeria”, the Benue State Government provided lands in five LGAs, of Guma, Gbajimba, Agatu, Logo, Kwande and Buruku. The lands will be utilized to build shelters for IDPs and for crop farming and planting of fodder.
UNDP, represented by Programme Manager, Kehinde Osotimenhin explained that the aim of the project is to promote conditions that will enable sustainable peace, the resolutions of conflict, reduction of violence and contribute to durable peace in Benue State.
She said: “This mission has been a rewarding one and I could not be more proud of this major feat after months of negotiations and hard work. The Benue State Government has shown immense commitment to support the project and we are enthusiastic that implementation will proceed smoothly going forward.
We are here to encourage sustainable peace, early detection and response to the issues that may lead to conflict within Benue State and enhance a quick resolution of such conflicts. To ensure safety, we rely on the State Government to fortify security, as promised.”
The project team has since conducted soil tests in all five LGAs to determine the types of seeds to be provided for crop farming. The project support will include installation of irrigation facilities, boreholes and water points. The next phase of the project promises to alleviate the sufferings of the IDPs in Benue State.
While in Makurdi, the team met with the Secretary to the State Government, and Commissioners for Lands, Agriculture, Water Resources, Housing and Urban Development, and Rural Development, Traditional Rulers, Local Government Chairmen and other key stakeholders who pledged their support to work with the project team to achieve the set objectives.
This mission forms part of activities of a 3-year project being implemented by UNDP, UNHCR and FAO in partnership with Benue and Nasarawa State Governments. The overall goal of the intervention is to contribute to ending the herdsmen-farmers conflict in affected States.