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Herdsmen/farmers’ crisis: Buhari orders assessment of damage in Benue, others

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the National Emergency Management Agency to commence an assessment of the extent of damage in communities affected by violence caused by herdsmen-farmers’ clashes in some parts of the country.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this during the inaugural meeting of the recently composed Governing Council of NEMA at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Vice-President presided over the meeting as the chairman of the governing council.

Osinbajo said, “Mr. President has directed that we do a survey and assessment on the damage done to towns, cities, communities that have been affected by violence in some parts of the country, including the farmers-herders’ clashes.

“NEMA will play a leading role in this and the Presidency will also provide direct support.

“We will involve the people in the affected communities, and not just bring people from outside these communities, in the rebuilding efforts.

“We will involve people in these villages, artisans and other people in the communities, with required skills so that they can also benefit economically as we rebuild these communities.”

Some of the states seriously affected by the herdsmen, farmers’ clashes include Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Zamfara, Oyo, Kogi, Ekiti and Ondo.

Osinbajo had on February 15 informed members of the National Economic Council that Buhari had approved the formation of a national committee to look into the rebuilding of communities affected by the violence in the affected states.

This, he said, was in line with the present administration’s commitment towards finding permanent solutions to the herdsmen-farmers’ clashes in some parts of the country.

At the Tuesday meeting, Osinbajo congratulated the new members and expressed the hope that the board would continue to be committed to the task ahead, adding that NEMA had been very visible in its role.

“NEMA has been taking on assignments even beyond its mandate. This is a responsibility that we must take seriously,” he said.

The Vice-President further urged the agency to devote more resources to public sensitisation regarding matters of emergency in the country and what the public needed to do in such circumstances.

Osinbajo added that NEMA should engage stakeholders more to participate in addressing its responsibilities, including the private sector and the Civil Society Organisations.

Members of the board include the Director General, NEMA; the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; representatives of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Water Resources.

Other members include representatives of the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Nigeria Police Force.

At the meeting, the Director General, NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, made a presentation on the work, role and challenges of the agency.

Meanwhile, the Vice-President also on Tuesday received a delegation from the Oxford Business Network for Africa from the Oxford Business School, London, United Kingdom, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Led by Mr. Bayo Owolabi, the delegation thanked the Vice-President for his role in Nigeria’s improved ranking in the World Bank Doing Business Report, while also commending the Federal Government for its efforts in improving the country’s economy generally, supporting the establishment of technology hubs in the country, among other socio-economic development initiatives.

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