#PROTECTFARMERSANDFARM

It has become imperative for people in different aspects of agriculture and other trades to work hand in hand to enhance productivity. The Fulanis are known for possessing weapons while grazing their livestock; the government should enact a law preventing them from the usage of these weapons on their fellow human. Also, they should set a disciplinary panel for anyone going against this law.

The Fulani herds­men should be banned from grazing their livestock near the farmland or farm route or even in residential areas. Bare pasture and water may also be provided to the pastoralists so that they travel less for pastel.

Fulani – Farmer Crisis in Nigeria

There are many theoretical explanations for the causes and nature of the herder-farmer conflict in Nigeria. The conflict’s roots lie in climate-induced degradation of pasture and increasing violence in the country’s far north, which have forced herders south; the expansion of farms and settlements that swallow up grazing reserves and block traditional migration routes; and the damage to farmers’ crops wrought by herders’ indiscriminate grazing.

But three immediate factors explain the 2018 escalation. First is the rapid growth of ethnic militias, such as those of the Bachama and Fulani in Adamawa state, bearing illegally acquired weapons. Second is the failure of the federal government to prosecute past perpetrators or heed early warnings of impending attacks. The third is the introduction in November 2017 of anti-grazing laws vehemently opposed by herders in Benue and Taraba states, and the resultant exodus of herders and cattle, largely into neighbouring Nasarawa and, to a lesser degree, Adamawa, sparking clashes with farmers in those states.

The farmer-herder conflict has become Nigeria’s gravest security challenge, now claiming far more lives than the Boko Haram insurgency. It has displaced hundreds of thousands and sharpened ethnic, regional, and religious polarisation. It threatens to become even deadlier and could affect forthcoming elections and undermine national stability.

The sparks for herder-farmer clashes tend to be disagreement over the use of land and water, livestock theft or the obstruction of traditional migration routes. But the conflict’s roots lie in the – often forced – migration of herders south from their traditional grazing grounds in northern Nigeria. As drought and desertification have dried up springs and streams across Nigeria’s far northern Sahelian belt, large numbers of herders have had to search for alternative pastures and sources of water for their cattle.

As the herders migrate into the savannah and rainforest of the central and southern states, they enter regions where high population growth over the last four decades has increased pressure on land. Not surprisingly, disputes over crop damage, water pollution and cattle theft have become more frequent. With the decline of traditional mediation mechanisms and in the absence of mutually accepted alternatives, such quarrels increasingly turn violent.

The farmer-herder conflict has arguably become the greatest threat to Nigeria’s peace and security. It is exacting an ever-deadlier toll and, with elections looming in 2023, could destabilise the country if the government and other actors fail to contain it. Without measures ranging from an immediate dialogue between affected communities to long-term livestock sector reform, the conflict risks escalating.