Desertification and Its Implications On farmers-Herders Conflicts in Nigeria: An Analytical Appraisal
- April 18, 2021
- Posted by: rsispostadmin
- Categories: IJRISS, Political Science
International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume V, Issue III, March 2021 | ISSN 2454–6186
Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria
Abstract:- The paper appraised the scourge of farmers-herdsmen conflict in Nigeria. The growing desertification and the effects of climate change have further increased the drive for the herdsmen to move further southward in search of grazing land and pasture for their livestock. The conflict has been one of the thorny security issues encroaching the corporate existence of the country particularly due to an aborted attempt by the federal government to establish the ‘RUGA’ settlement as a panacea. The paper used documentary sources to discuss and analyse the issues surrounding the causes and solutions to the problem. It was found that unless the federal government and other stakeholders make necessary steps especially reviving, reforming and remodelling the 1965 Northern Region Government’s Grazing Reserve System as well as afforestation programs, the menace would continue to remain a threat to the corporate survival of the country.
Keywords: Climate Change, Desertification, Farmers, Herders, Nigeria
One of the major tragedies threatening the peaceful and corporate existence of Nigeria as a country is the conflict between the farmers and the herdsmen. For centuries, Arab nomads and African farmers alternately clash as the former raised livestock while the later cultivate land under resourced constrained conditions (Schilling, Scheffran& Link, 2010; Akujobi, Ebitari&Amuzie, 2016). It is interesting to note that herders-farmers conflict has become more pronounced in recent years. Even though, government had in the past taken some measures to address the problem, the growing rate of desertification and the effects of climate change have further increased the drive for the herdsmen to move to the southern part of Nigeria in search of greener pasture for grazing. These southward movements generated crises between the herders and the host communities whose crops were regularly invaded and destroyed by the cattle movement. Indeed, famers and herders in Nigeria frequently experienced series of devastating conflicts which destroyed lives and properties worth billions of Naira. Though, since the return of democracy in 1999, Nigeria has been grappling with diverse security challenges but herders and famers clashes has been one of the more vulnerable one shaking its unity. This was vividly seen when the northern youth groups felt they could not resist the humiliations meted against the fulani herdsmen in Southern Nigeria. In fact, even within the northern states, these crises had taken place with devastating impact. The north central states of Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa among others had experienced conflicts that led to thousands of deaths and many displaced. In January 2018 Amnesty International reports that over 168 people were killed due to farmers-herdsmen clashes (Oyama, 2018). In addition, News Agency of Nigeria had reported the displacement of over 18,000 people in Nasarawa State.
Undoubtedly, out of the 909,890 km2 of the country’s land area, about 580,841 km2 accounting for 63.83% of total land is threatened by desertification (Ebenezer, 2015). It was deduced that desertification is one of the major challenge which triggers conflict between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria and sub-Saharan African continent at large. It is a process which occurs