BY Blessing Bature-Akpakpan, Abuja
Journalists have been urged to use data-driven stories to help reduce the crisis between herders and farmers in the country.
A data and science journalist, Chikezie Omeje lamented during a virtual meeting on ‘solution and data-driven approach to covering farmer-herder conflict in Nigeria,’ that lack of database on the farmer-herder conflict made it difficult to take decisions that can bring an end to the crisis in Nigeria.
The workshop, which was organised with support from the Davis Projects for Peace, had journalists across the country brainstorming on ways of bringing a lasting solution to the farmers-herders crisis in Nigeria.
He stated that without data, it becomes difficult to analyse conflict, in terms of trends and other factors, adding that in 2018 about 1767 experience brutalities by Fulani ethnic militia following 2014 where about 134 places were attacked and 1501 fatalities.
He expressed, “in the case of Benue, the Fulani militia has attacked the state at least 303 times since 2005, killing no fewer than 2539 people nearly one-third of all the herdsmen in the country.
Omeje said, “If data on the patterns and trends of the conflict risk factors are linked with good storytelling, a positive impact can be made for peace and security at the communities that have faced these persistent vicious attacks. Without data, it becomes difficult to analyse conflict, in terms of trends and other factors.
“Nigeria lacks database on the farmer-herder conflict. Granular dataset, such as the timeline of the attacks, the places and victims are not made available by public and private organisations in Nigeria. Information on the attacks are scattered through various media stories,” he added.
He further urged Nigerian government to collect data on the conflict and build a database in order to help overcome the issues.
He also urged reporters to report based on solution-lens telling the whole story and avoid perpetuating stereotypes, saying when journalist want to report, they should first know the problems, how are people responding to the problem, who are those working towards solutions, amplify the voice of peace actors and report peace initiatives at the community level, he said.