This project seeks to support the efforts of Government to design and implement measures for sustainable peace and development in conflict affected communities in Benue State (considered the epicentre of the crisis) with the aim to later expand to the other affected states in the country. This project aims to support Nigeria’s response to the conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Benue and Nasarawa States, Nigeria
The overall goal of the project is to contribute to ending the Herdsmen-Farmers Conflict in Benue and Nasarawa States in Nigeria. The implementation of this pilot project will specifically achieve the following objectives – (a) reduce the vulnerability of affected persons through community-based protection by enhancing ability of affected communities to identify and mitigate risks and threats while ensuring that there is no interruption in livelihoods and productive activities; (b) support livelihood and empowerment of community members through targeted initiatives to promote farming and livestock activities and establish synergies between these industries; (c) prevent violent conflicts and build peace by establishing a state peace architecture; local peace committees in conflict-affected LGAs to foster dialogue and non-violent resolution of disputes, reconciliation, co-existence and social cohesion; (d) mobilize national and regional efforts in the promotion of human security at national and sub-regional levels.
This will be done through a four-pillar project that is built up using the human security approach to leverage the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. The four pillars, outlined in more detail below, have the following four key objectives:
1. Community based Protection-the overall objective is to provide IDPs and conflict affected communities with protection services; as well as strengthen the capacity of the community structures to prevent and respond to violations of rights (including SGBV) through a multi sector approach. Specific objectives include: strengthening community mobilisation and peaceful coexistence within local communities; and improving the capacity of IDPs and host community based structures to prevent and respond the needs of survivors of violations, through a multi sector approach. The intervention is expected to increase protection outcomes for IDPs and affected communities by reducing and responding to the risks faced by the most vulnerable individuals. Through strengthening of community based protection structures, theproject hopes to contribute to reduce the risks for the most vulnerable people to resort to negative/harmful coping mechanisms.
2. Livelihood and Empowerment-This objective will develop livelihoods and empower community members in the intensive production of pasture, management of fodder bank and provide training on pasture management for community members, particularly youth and women. The animal husbandry, nutrition value addition and linkages to markets will all empower the cattle breeders, stimulate adoption of improved husbandry and management practices leading to commercial orientation of the livestock value chain.
3. Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding–Conflict is undermining human security in Benue and the entire Middle Belt. In order to create the enabling environment for sustainable development, the project will seek to establish a functional State Peace Architecture; facilitate creation of local peace committees in conflict-affected areas to foster dialogue and non-violent resolution of disputes.
4. National and Regional mobilization–Ensuring coherence between legislative and policy frameworks both at the state, federal and regional level is critical in addressing the regional dimension of the farmers herders’ crisis. To that effect, this component will help leverage ongoing processes, as well as include specific activities that aim to strengthen the legislative and policy response at various levels, especially focusing on lessons learned and best practices from the application of the human security approach in Benue State. While the Human Security concept will be promoted at national and sub-regional levels, this component will build on ongoing processes/initiatives and partner with national and sub-regional/regional actors such as the Lake Chad Basin Commission, ECOWAS, and Sahel countries (CEN-SAD), and AU.
The project beneficiaries of this pilot phase will be the people of Benue and Nasarawa states in general, and particularly the local population in the five local government areas namely: Agatu (156,000), Guma (262,100), Logo (228,900), Kwande (335,600) and Buruku (278,400); mainly from the Tiv, Idoma ethnic groups and the predominantly Fulani herder community in Benue and Nasarawa states, with 40% male and 60% female (including youths) to be engaged. The beneficiaries consist of IDPs, returnees and host communities, including farmers and herdsmen in Benue and neighbouring states, and the private sector in the agriculture value chain.
UNDP has been engaged in peacebuilding and livelihood support programme in Benue State. Under this programme, it facilitated local mediation and conflict management between warring clan groups in Agila Community in Ado Local Government of Benue State. As part of measures to ensure the sustainability of the peace process, UNDP also trained 50 victims of conflict in Agila community. All the 50 (43 females and seven males) beneficiaries of the livelihoods scheme in Agila Community of Benue State completed their training and set up their businesses within their community. Information from the stakeholders in Agila Community indicated that these beneficiaries are making practical use of the acquired skills and equipment to improve their living conditions, and those of their families and communities.