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Nigeria could be on the verge of an agricultural revolution, a key building block for economic diversification and poverty reduction. However, much of Nigeria’s potentially productive territory is beset by complex and sometimes overlapping violent conflicts — Boko Haram in the Chad Basin region; farmer/herder violence in the country’s grain-producing Central region; and rural banditry among farming and herding communities in the Northwest. Efforts to address the violence need to take into account subsistence farming’s cultural dimensions and intricate community and inter-ethnic relationships. Weak institutions and corruption make progress in doing so, which will inevitably take time, even more difficult.
Chom Bagu is Nigeria Field Project Manager for MEDA, a Canadian-based NGO that supports business solutions to poverty in its international economic development programming. For more than 17 years Chom has worked with governments, communities, local NGOs and INGOs on conflict issues from Nigeria’s southern Delta region to areas around Jos and Maiduguri in the north. Chom’s work with governments and International organizations, including USAID, Search for Common Ground and now MEDA, has involved policy development, analysis, and support for multi-stakeholder engagement. He joined MEDA in 2017 to lead a project in Bauchi state aimed at including poor, economically-active women and youths in agribusinesses and agro markets. He holds an MSc in mass communications from the University of Leicester and a BSc in political science from the University of Jos. He speaks to audiences across Nigeria on issues of peace and security, particularly in the country’s north.