The Artistic Director, National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN), Comrade Tar Ukoh has called on farmers and pastoral herders in the country to tolerate each other by sharing the green areas in the country, saying it is one way to ensure peaceful co-existence amongst them.
Tar Ukoh who made this call recently at a cross-cultural peace building conference, organized by NTN and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Abuja on the theme: Sharing the Green Grass said there is urgent need to curb the primary cause of these frequent clashes and intolerance before it destroys the nation.
According to him, the possibility of farmers living in peace with herders through tolerance, cultural sensitivity and dialogue gave impetus to the partnership between the two agencies to demonstrate to Nigerians that we can still have peace in the country. In his words, we are using culture to promote peace. We have a drama presentation with the cast comprising of herders and farmers who are former victims of these clashes. We believe in the resolution of conflict because conflicts will surely come but there is always a solution.
He also disclosed that the National Troupe has embarked on a sensitization tour across the crises prone areas, using culture to let the people understand the symbiosis between farmers and herders.
On his part, the Director-General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari said it is in a bid to put an end to the frequent clashes between pastoral herders and farmers in the country that the agency embarked on the peace building and transformation initiative in collaboration with NTN. This, he said, is to curb the unfortunate incidences that have led to the loss of lives and property in some parts of the country.
He therefore called on the government to do more by encouraging platforms like the peace conference to create more avenues for public debates on possible solutions to inter-communal disputes between herdsmen and farmers.
Also expressing concern over the spate of killings in the country, the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello said it is imperative for Nigerian citizens to understand each other to co-exist because the country remains a heterogeneous society and the citizens must learn to live as one.
Represented by the Secretary, FCT Social Development Secretariat, Alhaji Aliru Ladi Hassan, the FCT Minister while calling on all stakeholders to ensure we have a peaceful and united Nigeria lamented that without peace, the much desired unity and development of our dear country will remain a mirage. He said it is only when there is peace that herders can rear and market their cattle, farmers cultivate and market their produce, as well as provide a place where foreigners can invest.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd.), who was represented by Mrs. Peace Ibekwe Abdallah, emphasized the need to take the sharing the green grass message seriously as it will go a long way in stemming the tide of violent clashes in the country. He therefore charged religious leaders in the country to always guide their followers towards living in peace with their neighbours.
Present at the event was the Acting Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr. Louis Eriomala, represented by the Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs Department of the Institute, Mr. Alex Omijie. Others include: the Hon. Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, represented by Gbabemi Ojo Eghel; the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Council, Mr. Folurunsho Coker, represented by Mrs. Bukola Hassan and the Director General, Voice of Nigeria, Mr. Osita Okechukwu among others.