1.1 Background to the Study
One fundamental responsibility of the state is the security of the life and property of its citizens. Others include the protection of its territoriality and sovereignty and the guarantee of its socio-economic and political stability. However, this protective function of the state has been threatened by the emergence of “violent non-state actors” who engage in violence and terrorism-related activities. In Nigeria, incidences of kidnapping, hostage taking and militancy in the Niger Delta region, the Boko Haram insurgency in the northern states and most recently herdsmen-farmers clashes are cases in point.
The reason for the ever growing insecurity is as a result of the dynamics at play between various individuals and groups within. For instance, some individuals or groups seeks to expand their political power based or continue to dominate others without regard to fairness and equity. Again, there are those that seek to occupy or expand land spaces hitherto occupied by others, or seek to be recognised and have fair share by those who feel they own a particular geographical location. Moreover, there are also the highly mobile herdsmen that seek greener pastures of land for their cattle to graze that comes into conflict with farmers whose farms are destroyed in the process. Furthermore, there are those who attempt to impose (forcefully) their religious beliefs on others despite the circular nature of the country that permit individual freedom of worship. And finally the government has failed to provide protection of lives and properties to majority of its citizens or create opportunities for employment and self-advancement, or bring justice and compensation for those wronged.
In all of these as many have resorted to revenge, defending and providing security, and social amenities for themselves hence the government has failed. People that are disenfranchised and lack government support and are unable to embark on self-help projects becomes desperation. In their quest for survival they form or join criminal groups as a vehicle to redress or overcome these challenges. When people are driven into a state of helplessness and hopelessness they become desperate. And actions undertaken in desperate situations may lack rationality and due process and is risky and dangerous for the society. The struggle for political power, religious imposition and land disputes and the lack of aid for victims or punishment for troublemakers, corrupt persons, and the mismanagement of the economy have all fuelled tensions in the country. Tom (2012) pointed out that in Nigeria, three things are intertwined – religion, politics and ethnicity – and the three are beclouded with corruption, poverty and insecurity.
The overall consequences of these are that, since most of them have been negatively employed to wreck havoc against the society, the once bubbling commercial cities, serene and peaceful towns with a perfect blend of modern and traditional exotic cultural heritages have turned into fearful ghost towns and this to a large extent affects the socio-economic development of Nigeria. It is almost impossible to assess the painful feelings, quantify the number of invaluable deaths (because some are not recorded) and evaluate the cost of public infrastructure and personal properties destroyed by the terrorists. The activities of the herdsmen over the past years have posed a serious security and developmental challenges and have threatened the foundation of unity of the country. It is upon this background that the study seeks to examine the implications of herdsmen-farmer clashes on the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
Nigeria as a country has been experiencing series of crisis and conflict which has caused untold hardship to citizens since independence. Some of these conflict were religious, ethno – religious, political thuggery among others which has affected the development of the country adversely. Consequently, the government and the citizens exerted much effort in rebuilding the country through constitution of panel of inquiry, peace building meetings, rehabilitation, reconstruction, etc. However, none of the conflict experienced in Nigeria can be compared to the present security challenges which are like “cankerworm” to the Nation’s developmental efforts. The issue of herdsmen-farmers clashes has become a major challenge in Nigeria for the past few years thereby causing serious havoc and monumental loss of lives, destruction of properties and economic backwardness to the country which has become a major issue of concern to the government and the governed.
The Fulani pastoralists appear to be greater in number than any other group in Nigeria that are involved in the business of animal rearing. They are the most prosperous. They make cattle meat affordable and readily available at the door post of Nigerians. Their animal meat constitutes a huge source of protein for the citizens. Hence they contribute substantially to the Nigerian economy. Abbass(2014) opined that the Fulani indisputably represent a significant component of the Nigerian economy. They constitute the major breeders of cattle and the main source of meat, the most widely available and cheapest source of animal protein consumed by Nigerians. The Fulani own over 90% of the nation’s livestock population, which accounts for one-third of the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) and 3.2% of the nation’s GDP (Bello 2013).
Nonetheless, the frequent attack on the farmers and citizens of Nigeria these days by the herdsmen is terribly alarming. Attesting to this fact, Adetula (2016) avers that previously the herdsmen were known to wreak havoc in certain communities in Nigeria, but now the rate at which they are committing these crimes has increased exponentially. This threatens the peace, security and unity of the nation as one geographical entity and will retard growth and development in all spheres of people’s lives. This negative attitude tends to negate their huge economic contribution to the gross national product (GNP).
The issue of Herdsmen/farmers clashes has become a major challenge and matter of concern in Nigeria as it has made many parts of Nigeria inhabitable, makes life miserable and has also caused untold hardship for millions of Nigeria. Insecurity is seen as a chronic threat to human life, territories, states, religious beliefs, properties and institution among others (Obi, 2015). When people are exposed to risk or anxiety or are in constant fear of danger, it is a clear indication that the country is not secure. These cases of insecurity results to scarcity of agricultural produce because the farmlands that would have ensured food availability are being destroyed by the Herdsmen. People are also rendered homeless and refugees as their homes are being destroyed during the clashes. These constitutes a problem for the government as funds that would have been used in developing the country are being inserting in fighting insecurity and constructing refugee camps for the homeless. It is on this note the study seeks to examine the implications of herdsmen-farmer clashes on the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
1.3 Research Questions:
1.) Does herdsmen-farmer clashes affect the socio-economic development of Nigeria?
2.) Does the activities of herdsmen affect agricultural productivity in Nigeria?
3.) How effective have government policy to curb the menace of Herdsmen/farmers clashes been effective?
4.) How can Herdsmen/farmers conflicts be addressed to enhance sustainable development?
1.4 Objectives of the study:
The main objective of the study is to examine the extent to which herdsmen-farmer clashes affect the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
The specific objectives include:
1.) To examine how Herdsmen activities have affected agricultural productivity in Nigeria
2.) To appraise how effective government policy to curb the menace of Herdsmen/farmers clashes has been.
3.) To make useful suggestions on how Herdsmen/farmers clashes can be addressed to attain lasting peace.
1.5 Research hypotheses:
Ho: Herdsmen-farmers clashes negatively affect the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
H1: Herdsmen-farmers clashes positively affect the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
Ho: The activities of herdsmen hinders agricultural productivity in Nigeria
H1: The activities of herdsmen enhances agricultural productivity in Nigeria
Ho: Government policy in handling Herdsmen/farmers clashes have been ineffective
H1: Government policy in handling Herdsmen/farmers clashes have been effective
1.6 Significance of the Study:
This study has two basic significance. They are both practical and theoretical in nature. Practically, this study will be a guide to policy makers, economists, political analysts, policy implementers and researchers. In other words, it shall serve as a tool for the government in addressing the issue of Herdsmen-farmer clashes in Nigeria. It will help the government in formulating policies that will curb such occurrences in future.
Theoretically, the study will close the existing gap in the literature on socio-economic development and by so doing add to the existing volume of knowledge on herdsmen-farmer clashes affect the socio-economic development of Nigeria. It will also provide a lasting solution to the problems associated Herdsmen-farmer clashes in Nigeria.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study:
The scope of any research is divided into three broad areas which are the spatial, temporal and contextual. The study is restricted to Herdsmen-farmer clashes and the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
This research was constrained by some factors beyond human control. These factors include lack of literature, lack of finance, insufficient time and data management. The literature in the libraries that were consulted was not rich enough as they lacked currency on the Herdsmen-farmer clashes and the socio-economic growth and development of Nigeria. Also, lack of finance hindered the researcher from purchasing necessary materials needed for the research and touring various locations to source for information. Lastly, the duration of time given for the research was too short as the researcher had other academic commitments to pursue. So the time pressure constituted a limitation to the work.
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