TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
Acronyms and Abbreviations
Abstract – – – – – – – – – – xv
1.1 Background to the Study – – – – – – – 1
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem – – – – – – 7
1.3 Research Questions – – – – – – – – 9
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study – – – – – 10
1.5 Significance of the Study – – – – – – – 10
1.6 Scope of the Study – – – – – – – – 11
1.7 Definition of Key Terms – – – – – – – 12
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – – 14
2.2 Conceptual Review of Conflict – – – – – – 14
2.3 Nature and Manifestations of Farmers‘-Herder‘s Violent Conflict in Benue State 17
2.4 Predisposing Factors Responsible for Violent Conflicts between Farmers
andHerders – – – – – – – – 21
2.5 Socio-Economic Effects of Farmers‘/Herder‘s Violent Conflict on the Farmers
and Herders – – – – – – – – – 30
2.6 Coping Strategies adopted by victims of violent conflicts – – 38
2. 7 Government Interventions and Policies Aimed at Forestalling Farmer-Herders‘
Violent Conflict in Nigeria – – – – – – – 41
2.7.1 Government Policies/ InterventionsAimed at Forestalling Farmers‘-Herders‘
Violent Conflict in Nigeria during the Colonial Era to 1998 – – 42
2.7.2 Government Policies/Interventions Aimed at Forestalling Farmers‘-Herders‘
Violent Conflict in Nigeria from 1999 to 2019 – – – – 45
2.8 Theoretical Framework – – – – – – – 51
2.8.1 Eco-Violence Theory – – – – – – – 51
2.8.2 Frustration-Aggression Theory – – – – – – 54
3.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – 59
3.2 Research Design – – – – – – – – 59
3.3 Location of the Study – – – – – – – 60
3.4 Population of the Study – – – – – – – 63
3.5 Sources of Data – – – – – – – – 64
3.6 Sampling Procedure and Sample Size – – – – – 64
3.6.1 Sampling for Survey – – – – – – – 64
3.6.2 Selection of Participant for in-Depth Interview – – – 68
3.7 Variables of the Study – – – – – – – 68
3.7.1 Quantitative Data – – – – – – – – 69
3.7.2 Qualitative Data – – – – – – – – 70
3.8 Methods of Data Analysis – – – – – – 70
3.8.1 Quantitative Data – – – – – – – – 71
3.8.2 Qualitative Data – – – – – – – – 71
3.9 Problems Encountered in the Field – – – – – – 71
3.10 Ethical Considerations – – – – – – – 73
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
4.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – 74
4.2 Socio-Demographic Profiles of Famer and Herder Respondents – 75
4.3 Examining the Nature and Manifestations of Farmers‘/Herders‘ Violent
Conflict in Communities of Benue State. – – – – 78
4.4. Factors Responsible for Farmers‘/Herders‘ Violent Conflicts in Benue State 93
4.5 Socio-Economic Effects of farmers‘ – herders‘ violent conflictson the farmers
and herders in communities of Benue State – – – – 116
4.6 Coping Strategies adopted by Farmers and Herders to survive the challenges of
Farmer–Herders‘ Violent Conflicts in Benue State – – – 133
4.7 Measures taken to Forestall Farmers‘/Herders‘ Violent Conflicts in Benue State 138
4.8 Discussion of Major Findings – – – – – – 147
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – – 155
5.2 Summary of Research Findings – – – – – 155
5.3 Conclusion – – – – – – – – 158
5.4 Recommendations – – – – – – – – 158
5.5 Contributions of the Study to Knowledge – – – – – 162
REFERENCES – – – – – – – – 164
Appendix I: Questionnaire for Farmers in Benue State Communities – – 174
Appendix II: Questionnaire for Herders in Benue State Communities – – 181
Appendix III: In-Depth Interview (IDI) Guide for Selected Farmers 186
Appendix IV: In-Depth Interview (IDI) Guide for Traditional Rulers in Benue State
Communities – – – – – – – – 189
Appendix V: In-Depth Interview (IDI) Guide for Herders in Benue State Communities 191
Appendix VI: In-Depth Interview (IDI) Guide for Executive Members of Myetti
Allah Cattle Breeders‘ Association of Nigeria, Benue State Chapter 194
Appendix VII: In-Depth Interview (IDI) Guide for selected Security Agents in
Benue State – – – – – – – – 197
Appendix VIII:Three Senatorial Districts Showing Local Government Areas in Benue
State that were highly and less affected by the Conflicts – – 199
Appendix IX: Six (6) selected Local Government Areas in Benue State showing
Council Wards that were highly and less affected by the Conflicts 200
Appendix X: 24 Villages in the 12 selected Council Wards that were highly affected
in the six (6) Local Government Areas selected – – – 203
LIST OF TABLES
Table 4.2.1: Socio-Demographic Profiles of Farmers and Herders in the Study Area 75
Table 4.3.1: Views of Farmers on the Actual Attackers/Invaders of Benue Rural
Communities – – – – – – – – 78
Table 4.3.2: Views of Farmers on the Kinds of Weapons Used in the Farmers‘-Herders‘
Violent Conflict in Benue State – – – – – 79
Table 4.3.3: Views of Farmers on the Strategies Used to Carry out Attacks in Benue
State Communities – – – – – – – 80
Table 4.3.4: Views of Herders on the Actual Perpetrators of the coordinated attacks
in Benue Rural Communities – – – – – – 81
Table 4.3.5: Views of Herders on the types of weapons used by the attackers 82
Table 4.3.6: Views of Herderson the Coordinated Strategies used by the
attackers/invaders in Benue Rural Communities – – – 82
Table 4.3.7: Types of Farming Practiced by farmers – – – 83
Table 4.3.8: Mode of Land Acquisition by Farmers – – – 84
Table 4.3.9: Views of Farmers on Seasonal Occurrence of farmers‘/herders‘
violent conflict in Benue State – – – – – 85
Table 4.3.10: Views of Farmers Whether they were consulted prior to the Settlement of
Herders In their Communities – – – – – 85
Table 4.3.11: Whether traditional rulers were consulted prior to the Settlement of
Herders in the Farming Communities – – – – 86
Table 4.3.12: Whether anything was given to Traditional Authorities before Herders
settled in their Communities – – – – – 87
Table 4.3.13: Perception of Farmers as to whether Herders brought Weapons when
coming to settle in the Benue Communities – – – 87
Table: 4.3.14: Perception of Herders on how long they have lived in the communities
in Benue State – – – – – – – 88
Table 4.3.15: Views of Herders on Seasonal Occurrence of farmer/herders‘ violent
conflicts in Benue States – – – – – – 89
Table 4.3.16: Whether herders consulted farmers prior to their settlement in Benue
State Communities – – – – – – – 89
Table 4.3.17: Whether Herders Consulted Traditional Rulers prior to Settlement in
the Benue State Communities – – – – – 90
Table 4.3.18: Views Herders on whether they paid anything to Traditional
Authorities before they were allowed to settle in the Communities 91
Table 4.3.19: Views Herders on whether they brought weapons when coming to
settle in Benue State – – – – – – 92
Table 4.4.1 Views of Farmers on the predisposing factors that precipitate violent
conflict between farmers and herders in Benue State – – 94
Table 4.4.2: Views of Herders on precipitating Factors responsible for Violent
Conflict between Farmers and Herders in Benue State – – 107
Table 4.5.1 Consideration of Farmers and Herders as Partners in Progress 116
Table 4.5.2: Views of Farmers and Herders on Estimated Annual Income before and
after the Conflict in Benue State – – – – 118
Table 4.5.3: Farmers and Herders views on Lives lost as a result of farmer – herders‘
violent conflicts in Benue State – – – – – 121
Table 4.5.4: Views of Farmers and Herders on the Injuries their Family Members
sustained during the Crises – – – – – – 123
Table 4.5.5: Views of Farmers on whether there is any part of their land they
could not cultivate – – – – – – – 124
Table 4.5.6: Views of Herders‘ on whether they still graze in their most prefer
communities in Benue State – – – – – 124
Table 4.5.7: Number of Internally Displaced Persons per Camp at the Seven (7)
IDPs Camps in Guma, Makurdi and Logo Local Governments of
Benue State as at 1st March, 2018 – – – – – 126
Table 4.5.8 Mean Number of livestock lost during the farmers‘/herders‘ violent
Conflict in Benue State – – – – – – 128
Table 4.5.9: Determination of effects of farmers‘ – herders‘ violent conflict on
cultivated land by farmers for seven crops – – – 129
Table: 4.5.10 Effects of farmers‘-herders‘ violent conflicts on Economic trees in
Benue State. – – – – – – – – 131
Table 4.5.11: Test of Significant Difference between Annual Income before and
During/After Conflict – – – – – – 132
Table 4.6.1: Coping strategies Farmers adopted during and after the violent
Conflicts in Benue State – – – – – – 133
Table 4.6.2: Coping Strategies Herders Adopted during and after the Conflicts in
Benue State – – – – – – – – 136
Table 4.7.1: Views of Farmers and Herders on whether the Federal Government plays
a role in forestalling the violent conflicts between farmers and herders in
Benue State – – – – – – – – 139
Table 4.7.2: Views of Farmers and Herders on whether the State Government took
measures to forestall the conflict – – – – – 140
Table 4.7.3: Views of Farmers and Herders on whether dialogues were used to
avert the violent conflict by the Stakeholders – – – 141
Table 4.7.4 Farmers and Herders support for implementation of Anti-Open
Grazing and Prohibition Law by the Benue State Government – 143
Table 4.7.5 Recommendations to the Government by farmers and herders for
measures to adopt in order to prevent and resolve the farmers‘-
herders‘ violent conflict in Benue State – – – – 145
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 3.1: Map of Benue State showing six (6) Local Government Areas Studied
Source: Map Gallery, Geography Department, ABU Zaria, 2019 – 62
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
AFAN – All Farmers‘ Association of Nigeria
CHD – Centre for Humanitarian Dialoque
DCO – Divisional Crime Officer
DPO – Divisional Police Officer
ECOWAS – Economic Community of West African States
EGEM – Ekiti Grazing Enforcement Marshals
FAP – Fulani Amenties Programme
FCT – Federal Capital Territory
FMARD – Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
GDP – Gross Demestic Product
IBRD – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
ICG – International Crisis Group
IDPs – Internal Displaced Persons
IMC – Interfaith Mediation Centre
LGAs – Local Government Areas
MACBAN – Miyyatti Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria
MAPO – Benue Based Movement against Fulani Occupation
NEC – The National Executive Council
NGOs – Non – Governmental Organisations
NLDP – National Livestock Development Project
NPC – National Population Commission
NPF – Nigeria Police Force
NRSP – Nigeria Reconciliation and Stability Project
NSCDC – Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps
PTFPDP – Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund Pastoralist Development Programme
SPSS – Statistical Package for Social Sciences
USAID – United States Agency for International Development
In Nigeria, particularly Benue State, farmer-herder conflicts have become widespread and increasingly assume a violent dimension.The groups involved in the violent conflicts over resources are crop farmers and herders. Both the farmers and herders are completely dependent on land for the cultivation of crops and rearing of animals respectively. The two occupations are expected to be complementary to each other but they are always in constant violent conflicts with each other in the recent times. The good relationship they used to have, had transformed into irreconcilable antagonism which always result in violent conflicts. This study was therefore, designed to assess the violent conflict in Benue State, Nigeria from 2009 to 2018. In order to achieve this, the study outlined the following objectives: to understand the nature and manifestations of the violent conflict; examine factors responsible for the conflict; assess Socio-economic effects of the conflict on the farmers and herders; explore strategies adopted by farmers and herders in coping with the effects of the conflict and, to assess the role played by governments and other relevant stakeholders to forestall the reoccurrence of the conflict in the study area.To provide a theoretical base for the study, Eco-Violence and Frustration Aggression theories as propounded by Thomas Homer in 1998 and the original formulation of the frustration–aggression hypothesis by Dollard, Doob, Miller, Mowrer, and Sears in 1939 .respectively were reviewed. However Eco-Violence theory was adopted for the study. It explaines the intricate linkages that have developed between resource scarcity as a result of climate change and violent conflict which to some extent explains the basis for harmers‘-herders‘ violent conflict in Benue State. The study also employs multi – stage cluster sampling techniques where combinations of simple, systematic, snowball and purposive sampling techniques were used to select respondents and study participants. Data were collected using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
Questionnaire was deployed in collecting quantitative data from 320 respondents that were made up of farmers and herders in the study area. While qualitative data were collected from 26 key informants using in-depth interview guide. Quantitative data collected through questionnaire were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 and was presented in form of tables, frequencies and percentages. While the qualitative data was presented in sub- themes according to the objectives of the study. In terms of the nature of the conflict in the study area, the study reveals that farmers and herders were attacking each other with sophisticated weapons. The study further shows that, some traditional rulers were having some secret financial dealings with the herders without the knowledge of their subjects. Several factors were also found to be responsible for farmers‘- herders‘ violent conflicts in Benue State; the factors include unfavourable environmental changes, population explosion, religious intolerance, ethnic suspicion and political factors among others. In terms of Socio- Economic effect of the conflict, the study indicates that peaceful inter-groups relations have been compromised in the study area coupled with destruction of valuable property and source of livelihoods among others. The challenge of the conflict on the farmers and herdsmen in the study location, the study found that residents have adopted different strategies in order to cope with the urgly development. Some of the strategies include, migration from trouble spots to safer communities, abandonment of farming and herding as means of livelihood, receiving help from politicians among xvi others.The study also found that conflict between farmers and herders in Benue State has been politicized and measures taken by governments and stakeholders had not been successful. Based on the findings it was therefore recommended that the traditional authorities should be open to their subjects when it comes to issues bordering on land resources in their communities to avoid suspicion. Government should establish permanent security task force comprising of all the security agencies and marine police outpost along the riverine communities where invaders always attacked. It further recommended that both the farmers and herders should be part of the security network to help forestall conflicts and also report the presence of strange faces (foreigners) in their communities to security agents. The study also recommended the governments to address the environmental challenges that are forcing herders southward by ranching of livestock or building of dams, recharging of Lake Chad Basin , watering of grasses and trees to create more grasses for grazing of cattle in order to make herders comfortable in the far Northern Nigeria to curtail their movement southward.The study also recommended that the Federal, State and stakeholders should depoliticized the conflict. The study therefore concludes that, the conflict has become a serious national security threat that needs urgent attention of government and all stakeholders to curtail the incidence of the conflict in the area.
1 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background to the Study This study assessesviolent conflict between farmers and herders in Benue State, Nigeria.The challenge of conflict between farmers and herders and its effects on their livelihoods in the world today call for attention and investigation. Generally,conflict is an inevitable phenomenon in any human society;itis a natural characteristic of mankind, resulting from interactions between people, groups and communities.The focus of this study was to assess herders‘-farmers‘ violent conflict in Benue State, Nigeria. For the purpose of this study, farmers refer to individuals who cultivate crops or rear domestic livestock or practice both while herders refer to those who move about with their animals in search of grazing pastures and water. According to Marshall & Gurr (2005), farmers‘-herders‘ violent conflict had manifested in both arid and semi-arid regions of America, Africa and Asia, among others.
Historically, farmers and herdsmen have competed over the use of resources and in some cases engaged in conflicts in different continents of the world like Europe, America and Asia.While stakeholders in those continents have adopted modern technology and proper managementto checkmate the occurrence of farmers‘-herders‘ conflict. In Africa, the phenomenon is escalating in most countries, including Nigeria.It is an age long problem in Nigeria, and it has escalated in the last decade and has assumed a very deadly dimension.In Africa, it is mostly common in the Great Lake Regions of West, East and Central Africa,in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Cameroon among others. In East Africa, particularly Tanzania, due to increased population pressure and the diversification of rural land use patterns, access to pasture and water for livestock has diminished thus prompting pastoralists to migrate to the central, eastern and southern parts of the country and as a result conflicts always emerged (Odgaard, 2005; Mattee& Shem, 2006).
2 In West Africa, conflicts between farmers and herders have been a common feature of economic activities for centuries. The Northern region of Ghana has also been experiencing increased violent clashes between farmers and herders over access to land resources (Olaniyan, Francis & Okeke-Uzodike, 2015; Tonah,2006).
Nigeria has experienced and is still experiencing conflicts of grave proportions among farmers and herders. These conflicts significantly vary in dimension, processes and the groups involved. Momale (2003) observes that while some conflicts arise between same resource user groups such as between one farming community and another, other conflicts occur between different resource user groups such as herders and farmers or between foresters and farmers. Fefa and Tough (2016) also notes that in Nigeria both South and Northern States were affected. Central Nigerian States like Pleateau, Nassarawa and particularly Benue among others were seriously affected by the conflict; the groups involved in the violent conflicts over the resources were crop farmers and herders.
Genyi (2014) notes that interaction between the farming group, and the nomadic pastoralist group in Benue State, Nigeria was historically cordial but turns to be violent in the recent times.
Both farmers and herders are dependent on land for the cultivation of crops and rearing of animals respectively. The two occupations are expected to be complementary to each other but the groups in Nigeria, particularly Benue State are always in constant violent conflicts with each other. The good relationship they used to have, had transformed into irreconcilable antagonism, which always result in violent conflicts. In recent times particularly from 2009 to date, the conflict between farmers and herders have escalated, taking a political, banditry and ethnic- religious dimensions, threatening the country‘s security and stability, with an estimated death toll of approximately 2500 people in 2006 (International Crisis Group, 3 2017). These violent conflicts are becoming as potentially dangerous as the Boko Haram in the north eastern part of Nigeria, with little efforts from the Federal, State governments, nongovernmental organizations, communities and traditional leaders to address the problem.
Adisa (2012) opines that the farmer-herder‘s violent conflict has remained the most recurring resource-use conflict in Nigeria. Yahuza, (2017) attributes violent conflicts particularly in the North Central Nigeria to the direct consequences of the displacement of herdsmen from the North-East as a result of terrorists‘ activities and to a lesser extent the cattle rustling in Zamfara, Katsina and parts of Kaduna States. North- East alone is home to many heads of cattle and no provision was made for herdsmen and their cattle in the internal displaced persons(IDPs) camps, therefore movement to the North Central was inevitable and an obvious choice for the herders. In the past, the herders used to move their cattle to the North Central States in the dry seasons and return to their base during raining seasons and at this point in time there was insurgency at the base and they tended to remain in North Central and even advance further South coupled with the population explosion and environmental degradation of the drying up of lake Chad basin. Their large number of cattle inevitably becomes competition for land with the crop farmers in the area leading to killings and reprisal attacks(Odoh & Chilaka, 2012).
Another aspect of the conflict is the banditry dimension, where unknown gun men invade communities and kill villagers, without the villagers knowing the real identities of the invaders and their reasons for committing such acts. These violent conflicts have disrupted and threatened the sustainability of both crops and livestock production in the country and reinforced the circles of extreme poverty and hunger, destroying social cohesion, food security and affecting mostly the most vulnerable groups such as women and children.
Ibrahim (2012) observes that violent farmer-herder‘s conflicts have increased due to the changing patterns of land resource use and increasing population, competition for land use 4 and the breakdown of traditional mechanisms governing resource management and conflict resolution. Cases of herder-farmer‘s conflicts are widespread in Benue State in recent times particularly from 2009 to date. For instance, Azahan (2015) reports that on 11th April 2014, violent conflict erupted between herdsmen and farmers in Adaka village, Makurdi Local Government Area of Benue State. He also reports that on March 7, 2014 herdsmen attacked Guma local Government Area Headquarters, while on October 5, 2014, there was a violent conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Zongo village in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State. Vande-Acha (2014) also documents that on 25th May, 2015 herdsmen invaded Egba settlement of Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State. The major source of these violent conflicts according to authors is land, which the two groups compete over farming and grazing respectively.
Associated with this development is that land for both farming and grazing is scarce and in limited supply. The land according to Vande Acha (2014)has remained fixed while the population keeps on increasing and more land is brought under cultivation. The population of Benue State as of 1991 Population Census was 2,753,077 and 4,219,244 as of the 2006 Population Census (National Population Commission, 1991 and 2006). Abubakar (2012) also illustrates that, the population of cattle too continues to increase creating more demand for pasture for grazing coupled with the climate variability, environmental degradation, and socio-political upheaval have shifted pastoralist migration patterns and increased tensions between farmers and herders. Yahuza (2017), admits that the conflict is worse especially in North-Central Nigeria where farmers and the herders are categorized into groups relating to religion, tribe and region. As land is fixed and invariably population has been growing over time, areas that were used to be reserved for grazing have been taken over by the events either as farm lands or urban centres. Thus,differing claims to ownership of the land in the Benue valley has been established by both groups. For examples, while farmers have lay 5 claim to ownership of the land because they claim to be indigenous to the said land in the study area, the herders claim the constitution has provide them many opportunities to graze their cattles anywhere in Nigeria (Fefa & Tough, 2016). The claim to ownership , control of resources, and the complex land use system that have changed markedly overtime and therefore, culminating in tension and violent conflicts between herdsmen and the farmers.
Farmer-herder‘s violent conflicts are not only seen as resource-control violent conflicts, but also represent inter- ethnic dimensions involving two groups. Since the herdsmen and farmers have different values, customs, religion, physical and cultural characteristics, disputes between them are frequently categorised as ethnic conflict (Tonah, 2006). The feeling of oneness that is extant among the members of each of the groups is primarily based around their economic interest and the protection of the values, culture and power of each group. The herdsmen being a numerical minority in Benue communities have a unique culture and a stronger sense of internal solidarity. They are often isolated from the farming population. In such cases, conflict between them and the farming population of the farming community is regarded as having an ethno-religious base (Rasid, 2011).
In an attempt to solve the problem of conflicts between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria and Benue State in particular, various measures have been instituted right from the colonial period to date, prominent among them was the Nigerian Grazing Reserve Act of 1964, which was passed for the purpose of accessing grazing land for the herders. The Act was created and gazetted 313 grazing reserves mostly in the North –Central Nigeria, covering a total area of 2.8 million hectares representing 3% of the total mass of the country (Yahuza, 2017). This law was duly incorporated in the land Use Act of 1978. However, the law could not solve the menace,as violent conflict between the groups becomes a routine event. This failure is explained as the inability of the government in mediating conflicts and bringing 6 parties to mutual agreements based on trust. The government has over the years rather choose to set up Judicial Commissions whose report ends up in cupboards without whitepapers and implementation. This has inevitably pushed communities to take law into their own hands.
After the initiation of the first national livestock development project (NLDP) and the enactment of a grazing law by the Northern Nigeria Legislative Assembly in 1965, the authorities tried to provide grazing lands in order to make herders comfortable for grazing (Awogbade, 1983). The government in collaboration with organizations such as the International Livestock Research Institute for productivity, demarcated 4,125 grazing lands across Nigeria, covering about 4.3 million hectares. Someof these lands were equipped with boreholes, fences, fire breaks, veterinary services, access roads, and dams (Abass, 2012). The predominant types of ranches were to be individually owned by farmers with large investments; they were few options for cooperatives and a collective management of the herds. Since 2009, grazing routes have also been marked out through Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau, Kastina, Bauchi, Abuja, Sokoto, and Adamawa. Aliyu (2004) however stated that, only 270 of these official grazing lands are functional till date.
In the recent times (from 1999- 2019), Benue State government had made several attempts at resolving conflicts between the two groups. For instance, the government constituted a Benue/Nassarawa peace committee in 2013; the traditional rulers and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association reconciliation committee was also instituted in 2014 amongst others were parts of efforts made towards ensuring peaceful coexistence between the two groups.
These committees were given the mandate to mediate and arbitrate whenever there are clashes including those which regularly occur between the farmers and the herders. These committees were not able to bring peaceful coexistence among the two groups. Similarly, in its efforts to minimize the conflict, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in the year 2016 solicited for land in all States including Benue for grazing colonies where pastoralists will be 7 restricted and adequate facilities were proposed to be provided for grazing but it was not possible in some States ,particularly Benue State. Rather, an anti – open grazing and prohibition law was passed into law by the Benue State House of Assembly which was gazetted and implemented in November, 2017. The enactment and implementation of this law sparked off the situation that led to more killings in the area in 2018. In June, 2019 the Federal Ministry of Agriculture also announced a policy ofRuga settlements which was voluntary for state governments but all southern states, Benue and Taraba in the North vehemently rejected the implementation of the policy and it was shortly suspended by the Federal Government.
Despite various measures taken by stakeholders in the country to forestall the occurrence of these violent conflicts particularly in Benue State, there has been an escalation of violent conflicts between the farmers on one hand, and the herders, on the other. It‘s therefore, imperative to assess the conflict by examining the roles played by stakeholders in forestalling the conflict, the effects of the conflict and as well as the strategies both parties used to adopt to cope with the challenges of the conflict 1.2 Statement of the Research Problem Farmers and herders have been living together for centuries in Nigeria particularly Benue State, though used to have some conflicts but were not violent in nature but in the recent times ( 2009-2018) their conflicts have taken a political, banditry and ethno-religious dimension which have characterized with a lot of violence in the area. The government has not been able to address the violent conflicts. Farmers and herders are the main agricultural stakeholders in Nigeria, particularly Benue State. However, they (farmers and herders) are currently facing several challenges as a result of these violent conflicts; the State economy is dependent on agriculture, which contributes more than fifty percent of her people‘s income.
8 Farmers are the main stakeholders of development in the State and whenever there is conflict between farmers and herdsmen, it results in decrease in agricultural productivity, thus, a threat to means of livelihood on both sides. This conflict has displaced more than 100,000 people in Benue State and left them under the care of relatives or in makeshift Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps while many are still struggling to rebuild their lives (Idowu, 2017). The codial relationship the two groups used to enjoy is no longer in existence as well as the destruction of economic producewhich are the major challenge of both urban and rural residents in the area.
Conflicts between herdsmen and sedentary farmers in different parts of Nigeria have existed for many decades and the rudiments of the causes and effects of this violence remained significantly different and vary from one community to another. The social and economic effects, how the farmers and herders cope, the measures that have been put in place to forestall the conflicts are different in the study area with other communities to some extent because it has its own unique features. Both groups had suffered socially and economically, though several empirical studies assessing the violent conflicts between farmers and herders in Nigeria and Benue State in particular have focused mainly on the effects on farmers (Genyi, 2014; Uji, 2016; Idowu, 2017; Fefa & Tough, 2016 etc) neglecting the herders and how they cope with the challenges of the violent conflicts in the study area. In addition, studies such as Uji (2016) on forced migration of Tiv people of central Nigeria, concentrated on how the Tiv people were marginalized and forced to moved away from their ancestral homes to internal displaced camps(IDPs‘s) camps, Genyi (2014) focused on ethnic agitations and antagonisms in Nigeria, Fefa and Tough (2016) examined the socio-economic effects of farmer-herdsmen conflicts on the farmers in Benue State and so forth. However, none of the highlighted studies paid adequate attention on the effects of these violent conflicts on the herders. Rather their attention was more on the farmers. Majority of the studies also tend to 9 highlight and report cases in which the herders attacked farmers but tend to ignore the reprisal attacks on the side of the farmers and particularly the losses incurred by the herders.
It is also worthy of note to state that there are few systematically gathered and compiled information on the occurrence and magnitude of violent conflicts in the study area. Hence, the required change in perspective and problems associated with the violent conflicts require new approach to these issues since the two groups are living together, there is need to understand how these violent conflicts affect both farmers and herders as well as the strategies they have been adopting to cope with the challenges associated with the conflicts.From the foregoing, this study was therefore undertaken to fill the gaps by providing empirical research on farmers‘-herders‘ violent conflict in Benue State.
1.3 Research Questions Deriving from the statement of the research problem, the study seeks answers to the following specific questions: 1. What is the nature and manifestations of violent conflict between farmers and herders in Benue State? 2. What are the factors responsible for violent conflict between farmers and herders in Benue State? 3. What are the social and economic effects of violent conflict between farmers and herders on the farmers and herders in Benue State? 4. How do farmers and herders cope with the challenges of these violent conflicts in the study area? 5. What are the roles played by the Government and other relevant authorities to forestall violent conflicts between farmers and herders in Benue State? 10 1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study The aim of this study is to assess farmers‘-herders‘ violent conflict in Benue State, Nigeria from the year 2009 to 2018. However, the specific objectives are as follows: 1. To understand the nature and manifestations of violent conflict between farmers and herders in Benue State 2. To identify factors responsible for violent conflict between farmers and herders in Benue State.
3. To assess the social and economic effects of farmers‘-herders‘ violent conflict on the farmers and herders in Benue State.
4. To explore strategies adopted by farmers and herders in coping with the challenges of farmers‘-herders‘ violent conflicts in the study area.
5. To assess the roles played by the Government and other relevant authorities to forestall violent conflict between farmers and herders in the study Area.
1.5 Significance of the Study The significance of this study is both practical and theoretical. Practically, given the central economic role, played by farmers and herders who jointly guarantee food security for Nigerians, the violent conflicts portend food insecurity for the country and Benue State in particular. The study is significant because it addresses the challenges facing rural communities, which play a major role in food production in Benue State and Nigeria in general. The findings of this study are of immense importance to government officials, policy makers, security agencies, traditional rulers and other stakeholders in Nigeria. With this study, both the Federal and Benue State governments will be afforded a useful insight on how to examine and assess previous measures put in place in forestalling these violent conflicts and to re-design a more coordinated and result-oriented approach to combat the menace in the 11 country particularly now that the Federal government is interested in diversifying the economy through agriculture.
At the theoretical level, by examining farmers‘-herders‘ violent conflict in communities of Benue State, the study helps to understand the insecured agricultural activities arising from these violent conflicts.The study also provides insights into some strategies that both farmers and herders adopted, as coping strategiesagainst the negative effects of violent conflicts among the groups. The study helps the government on how to provide useful interventions whenever farmer-herder violent conflict occurs. The result of this study is useful for a further understanding of farmer-herder‘s violent conflict in other States of Nigeria. The study provides recommendations on how to forestall the violent conflict in the area. The study also broadens the existing knowledge and forms a reference material for further research and inquiries 1.6 Scope of the Study This study is geographically restricted to Benue State but its findings are useful in understanding farmer-herders‘ conflict throughout Nigeria. The choice of Benue State is based on the fact that it is one of the States in North Central Nigeria that are highly affected by the violent conflict. Benue State has a total number of twenty three (23) Local Government Areas namely: Gboko, Tarka, Buruku, Makurdi, Guma, Gwer, Gwer-west, Ukum, Kwande, Ushongu, Vandeikya, Konshisha, Logo, Katsina- Ala, Apa, Agatu, Ado, Obi, Ogbadibo, Okpokwu, Otukpo, Oju and Ohimini. The study is geographically limited to only six (6) Local Government Areas in Benue State, two most affected from each senatorial district. They are; Buruku, Guma, Logo, Kwande, Agatu and Apa because they are among the Local Government Areas that were most affected by the violent conflicts. Most of these local governments areas are situated along the banks of River Benue and Katsina-Ala. Benue State 12 is mostly dominated by farming Communities with little sparsely or scattered herding communities; the State has three (3) senatorial districts with seven (7) Local Government Areas each from the Benue North East and North West senatorial districts while Benue South Senatorial district have nine Local Government areas. The above six selected Local Government Areas were selected randomly two (2) each, from the three (3) senatorial districts based on the multi-stage cluster sampling technique. The findings of this Study in Benue State are generalized on how farmer/herder‘s violent conflicts had affected other communities in Nigeria.
Academically, the study examined the nature and manifestations of the violent conflicts, identify the predisposing factors responsible for conflicts between farmers and herders, the socio-economic effects of the conflicts on farmers and herders, explored coping strategies adopted by the victims of farmers‘-herders‘ violent conflicts, evaluate the measures taken to forestall the violent conflicts and to determine the extent to which those measures have been successful as well as filled the existing gap in the literature.
The time coverage is between 2009 and 2018. This period is chosen for special consideration because 2009 was the period when conflicts between farmers and herders in Benue State started been highly volatile. This period coincides with the administration of Governor Gabriel Torwua Suswam in Benue State.
1.7 Definition of Key Terms Being an empirical research, it is crucial to operationally define some key terms used for the study and they are as fellows: Demographic variables refer to certain socio-economic attributes of farmers and herders.
These include age, sex, marital status, and education, and place of resident 13 Economic effects refer to factors that affect livelihoods (occupations) of farmers and herders in the rural communities of Benue State. This includes effects on agricultural productivity and infrastructural facilities Farmers refers to those people living in Benue State who are cultivating crops or rearing domestic livestock or doing both Farmers’-herders’ violent conflict represent a resource dispute over land resources by the two groups; farmers and herders in Benue State.
Social effects refer to factors that affect farmers and herders interaction with each other in the rural communities of Benue State, the way they relate to each other before, during and after the conflicts. For example, how it affects the marriage systems, cultural and social events as well as education among others in the area.
Perception of farmers regarding whether they were informed before settlement or arrival of the herders refers to expression of views or opinion of farmers. This includes knowing whether farmers were informed before arrival or settlement of herders in the communities.
Herder refers to those who move about with their animals in search of grazing pastures and water.
Highly affected communities were refers to communities that had high level of human killings and destruction of property Less affected communities were those communities that killings and destructions of property did not take place but were affected indirectly 14
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