Programmes & Events

FARM SECURITY SUMMIT

Fulani herdsmen have been living in Benue State with crop farmers for a long time and cases of conflict between the two parties in the past were isolated, localized and amicably resolved. However the crisis that erupted in the state between the pastoralists and crop farmers especially in 2013 and early 2014 were spontaneous and widespread with attendant use of sophisticated weapons which resulted to killings and displacement of several people, closure of schools and markets as well as disruption in other economic activities in the state, which was not only of grave concern to well-meaning Nigerians but also attracted global attentions.

Considering the important role farming and livestock breeding contribute to the stability of the food supply chain of the nation as well as the fear and trauma in which the affected people live in anticipation of further reprisals, the Benue Coalition of Business and Professional Associations (BENCOBPA) saw the need to set in motion, and measures to find a lasting solution to the problem, which also was a security threat to the state. Consequently BENCOBPA commissioned in June 2014on this problem and recommended possible ways and means to reduce this conflict.

The findings and recommendations of the research were carefully considered by BENCOBPA and led to the Round Table on “Farm Security Summit” on 30th October, 2014 with the theme of “Peaceful Coexistence and Food Security in Benue State”.

Participants were drawn from Fulani Herdsmen, Crop Farmers, Traditional Rulers, Private Security Firms, Security Agencies, and BENCOBPA members. They deliberated on the research findings alongside paper presentations from facilitators with observations and recommendations.

A communiqué was also issued, which called on the Benue State and Federal Governments  among others to “encourage an integrated system of agriculture including establishment of ranches for herdsmen rather than grazing routes or reserves and thereby discourage nomadism that seems to be preferred by herdsmen at present”. This will eliminate constant clashes and conflicts between farmers and herdsmen “(Resolution III p2 of Communiqué).The participants further agreed that “the government should enact laws which regulate the relationship between farmers and herdsmen with the view to avoiding conflict between them. (Resolution IV p2 of the Communiqué).Finally“ the participants commended  BENCOBPA and Centre International Private Enterprise (CIPE) for organizing the roundtable on farmers and security in Benue state, noting that it was both appropriate and timely and urged the Benue state government to implement the resolutions reached at the roundtable,” ( Resolution (X) p3 of the Communique). This roundtable was a huge success. The subsequent enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 by the Benue State Government which has received both national and global acclaim shows that both BENCOBPA and CIPE were proactive and far sighted in identifying the explosive and disruptive farmers and herders’ conflict and proposing solutions to them, based on global best practices. BENCOBPA and CIPE’s contribution to this piece of legislation, though unacknowledged is commendable.

BENUE STATE BUSINESS AGENDA

In 2016 Benue Coalition of Business and Professional Associations (BENCOBPA) in collaboration with Centre for International Private
Enterprise (CIPE), commissioned a research on the impact of problems of poor energy/power, multiple taxes/ fees, insecurity, land acquisition and land titles as well as poor rural road network. The outcome of the research led to the development of Benue State Business Agenda and launched in the state on 1st November 2016. This enabled the business community to engage the public sector on public policy reforms through the advocacy tool.

Again in 2018, BENCOBPA in collaboration with CIPE commissioned a research for a post advocacy evaluation of the effects of the identified problems on the economy of Benue State in furtherance of the advocacy drive. Following this, the “Revised Benue State Business Agenda” was produced, incorporating the main findings of the research and proffering some recommendations and presented to the public on 30th January, 2020. This document has been widely circulated to various stakeholders and public officials, during advocacy by BENCOBPA. This research has impacted positively on public policy reforms in Benue State.

All the research conducted were aimed at finding solutions to problems that militated against business and private enterprise in the state, thereby slowing down the pace of economic development in the state. BENCOBPA has consistently engaged in advocacy to both private and public sector big players, with the view to promoting the ease of doing business in the state.