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THE RESOLUTION OF FARMERS AND HERDSMEN CLASHES IN TARABA STATE; CAUSES, PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES

EDUCATION UNDERGRADUATE PROJECT TOPICS, RESEARCH WORKS AND MATERIALS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Conflicts between farmers and Fulani herdsmen have been a regrettably common feature in the west African subregion at large and Nigeria in particular (Tonah, 2006). In the period before the beginning of the 20th century, the problem was mainly recorded along the savanna regions of West Africa. Cattle rearing were mainly prevalent in the Guinea, Sudan and Sahel savanna belts where crop production was carried out only during the short rainy season on a small scale. This has given the cattle herders access to a vast area of grass land in the region. With the passing of time, and with the introduction of irrigated farming in the Savanna region in Nigeria, and the increased withering of pasture during the dry or harmattern season, less pasture was available to cattle herders in the northern part of the country. These herdsmen in an attempt to sustain their cattle had to move southward to the coastal zone where the rainy season is longer and the impact of dry season is not as intense as in the north or savanna region, in search of pasture and water – a movement that is termed transhumance. The large number of wild animals and the fear of losing animals to diseases, especially trypanosomiasis, prevented these herdsmen from settling permanently in this zone (Blench, 1994). Tonah (2006) stated that there is a consensus among observers that farmers-herdsmen clashes have only since the 20th century become widespread in the coastal countries of West Africa especially in Nigeria, though Breusers et al. (1998) were of a dissenting view. They concluded after an investigation of farmers-herders relations in Burkina Faso that the conflict between farmers and Fulani herdsmen was an old phenomenon. Tonah (2006) was of the opinion that the factors that are responsible for the increasing farmers-herdsmen conflict include the southward movement of pastoral herds into the rain forest zones, promoted by the successful control of the menace posed by disease, the widespread availability of veterinary medicine and the expansion of farming activities into areas that hitherto served as pastureland. He further suggested that since the 1950s there has been a growth in human as well as livestock population in the coastal countries of West Africa. This gave rise to an increased pressure on natural resources and a stiff competition for available resources between farmers and herders (Adebayo, 1997; Breuser et al 1998; Bermadet, 1999). Tonah (2006) is of the view that since the sahelian drought of the 1970s and 1980s, and the resulting migration of a huge number of Herdsmen into the fringes of the humid forest zone of Nigeria, has resulted to the incidence of farmers-herders conflict. Cases of farmers-herders conflict are common in Nigeria. For instance, in Densina Local Government of Adamawa State, 28 people were feared killed, about 2,500 farmers were displaced and rendered homeless in the violence that ensued between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the host community in July 2005. Nweze (2005) stated that many farmers and herdsmen have lost their lives and herds, while others have experienced dwindling productivity in their herds. This was supported by Ajuwon (2004), as cited by Nweze (2005) in his observation that in Imo State for instance between the years of 1996 and 2005, 19 people died and 42 people were left seriously injured in the farmers-herdsmen conflicts and the violence that often accompanied such conflict. The conflicts are a threat to peace and national security. It also has implication for tribal co-existence, Nigeria being a multi-ethnic and a multi-tribal nation. The result of the study would be useful for a further understanding of farmers-herdsmen conflicts in other states of Nigeria and other West African countries. It would also give an insight into the way forward in such conflict situations.

STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM

The menace of the conflicts that has arisen between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in Nigerian communities has undermined the security of the country. The negative effects of these conflicts includes loss of lives and properties which by extension has discouraged foreign direct investment into Nigeria as no investor would be willing to invest into a crises ridden country or region while at the same time leading to lack of infrastructural development. The continues conflicts between the farmers and herders in Nigeria has also resulted to the lack of trust between tribes and religion especially the two major religion in Nigeria (Islam and Christianity) which doesn’t augur well for peaceful coexistence in a multi ethnic society like Nigeria.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The major aim of the study is to examine the resolution of farmers and herdsmen clashes in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study include;

  1. To examine the major causes of farmers and herdsmen clashes in Nigeria.
  2. To examine the economic implications of farmers and herdsmen clashes in Nigeria.
  3. To examine the security implication of farmers and herdsmen clashes in Nigeria.
  4. To examine the impact of farmers herdsmen clashes on the economy of Nigeria.
  5. To recommend ways of reducing the clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. What are the major causes of farmers and herdsmen clashes in Nigeria?
  2. What are the economic implications of farmers and herdsmen clashes in Nigeria?
  3. What is the security implication of farmers and herdsmen clashes in Nigeria?
  4. What is the impact of farmers/herdsmen clashes on the economy of Nigeria?
  5. What are the ways of reducing the clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria?

RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

H0: There are no security implications of farmers and herdsmen clashes in Taraba state.

H1: There are security implications of farmers and herdsmen clashes in Taraba state.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study would be of immense importance to government at all levels and security agencies as it would unveil the major causes and possible solutions to the clashes between farmers and herdsmen. The study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars whoc are interested in developing further studies on the conflict between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria.

SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

This study is restricted to the resolution of farmers and herdsmen clashes in Taraba state.

Limitation of the study

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

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