By Masara Kim
Nigeria loses about 12million United States Dollars (N4,362,000,000.00) annually due to insecurity in the Middle-Belt region, Search for Common Grounds has said.
The region has for decades been plagued by violent conflicts between predominantly indigenous farmers and mostly nomadic herdsmen leading to several deaths and destructions.
If solved, the Country Director Search for Common Ground Nigeria, Mr. Sher Ali Nawaz, Tuesday said household income in the region will shoot from 60% to 200%.
To help Nigeria achieve this, SFCG, working with local and international partners is raising local media professionals to reduce social prejudices through conflict sensitive reporting, Nawas said at a media workshop in Jos, the capital of Plateau State.
According to him is because the farmer-herder conflicts are resource-based, not sociocultural as widely perceived.
“330,000 hectares of land is affected by desertification every year.
“There are 30 million cattle in Nigeria but only one million hectares of grazing land exists which is unsustainable,” he said.
After thorough research, conflict sensitive reporting, he said has been found to be crucial in deescalating negative narratives and reducing the tendency for more violence.
This however will not be achieved without involving local professionals to produce media content that promote nonviolent response to conflicts, he said.
The “Media for Peace start-up workshop” aimed to “amplify peaceful narratives and access to reliable, credible and conflict-sensitive information” across Plateau State.
Organized in partnership with the Plateau State Peace Building Agency with funding from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the workshop featured panel discussions on “media and citizens’ roles in countering dangerous speech.”
Stakeholders from print, electronic and online media, community and religious organizations, civil societies and media training institutions participated in the program.