Abdulsalami Abubakar, former military head of state, says Nigeria loses $13.7 billion annually as a result of farmers-herdsmen conflicts in Benue, Kaduna, Nassarawa and Plateau states.
He made the disclosure at a forum organised by a group, Search for Common Ground, Nigeria, in collaboration with Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development.
The forum, with the theme, Amplifying the Expertise of African Peace-building Practitioners and Scholars, was organised for farmers and herdsmen at Maizube Farm in Bosso local government area of Niger state on Monday.
The organiser is an international non-profit organisation that promotes peaceful resolution of conflicts with offices in Washington and Brussels.
Abubakar said between January 2015 and February 2017, 62,000 people were displaced as a result of farmers-herdsmen conflict in Kaduna, Benue and Plateau states.
He said 2,500 people died nationwide in farmers and herdsmen conflicts.
He commended the organisation for initiating the forum with a view to building synergy between the academia and practitioners as well as to generate evidence for policy-making on farmers and herdsmen conflicts in Nigeria.
Abubakar said the initiative would further reduce farmers and herdsmen conflicts in Nigeria through a holistic interrogation of issues critical to resolving the conflicts in Nigeria and Africa.
He added that the initiative would enhance and boost relationships that had existed between the two interdependent groups and reduce the impacts of the conflicts on the affected communities.
“Farmers and herdsmen conflicts have become a threat to peace, security and development of our nation,” he said.
‘’This meeting is coming at a critical time when farmers and herders conflicts have become an issue of global concern.’’
Abubakar said the worry had heightened ‘’with the recent crisis in Plateau, Benue and other states that have led to loss of lives, properties, displacement of persons and families, untold hardships to communities and individuals affected.
“These deadly conflicts are expanding gradually to other states and the current situation is threatening the fragile peace and security of the nation.”