STATE SECURITY CHALLENGES IN NORTHERN NIGERIA
The research focuses on the current increase in cattle rustling in Birnin Gwari Local government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria. Cattle rustling is a group of rural robbers raiding rural communities with lethal weapons and stealing their animals. These acts result in the indiscriminate killing of innocent livestock owners, farmers, rural traders,
vigilante group members, rape and abduction of young girls and married women, and the burning of hamlets/settlements by the various gangs of cattle rustlers operating in the affected areas, resulting in mass migration of innocent rural dwellers out of the conflict areas of Birnin gwari to safer regions.
This has had a detrimental economic impact on the area and has weakened the social fabric of the rural villages. The study sought to discover the causes of the current increase in cattle rustling in the cities of Birnin gwari local government.
A survey was used to collect data, and in-depth interviews were performed with some of the stakeholders in the impacted areas, including police officers, victims, and community leaders.
Tables were used to indicate the percentages of each response based on the data obtained. According to the findings, the increase in cattle rustling can be attributed to a number of factors, including the proliferation of fire arms among Fulani herdsmen,
unethical activities of rural vigilante groups, the influence of violent culture, and a lack of adequate or complete security personnel presence in the affected towns.
As a next step, the research suggests that the government should immediately begin comprehensive disarmament of all parties involved in the reprisal attacks, and that adequate security be provided to affected communities and other vulnerable communities that are vulnerable to attack.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Cattle rustling is the practise of stealing livestock for monetary or social benefit. Livestock is a primary element of pastoral capital that serves as a means of producing, storing, transporting, and transferring food and wealth.
Pastures, water, natural vegetation, and cattle are important drivers of the rural economy. However, limited access to these resources, particularly grazing space and livestock routes, has increased the pressure on rural populations, particularly cattle owners. T.P. Kapron (2013).
Cattle theft is an ancient practise connected with cultures experiencing social and economic upheavals, as well as where the structures and functioning of leadership and government have disintegrated or are considerably weakened (Mohammed and Jibrin, 2015).
Traditionally, livestock theft has been motivated by the criminal intent to expropriate a cow for slaughter or sale. It must have acted as a basic technique of cow-herd accumulation in the contexts of subsistence and commercial pastoralism (Okoli and Opaleke, 2014).
Previously, this condition was mainly induced by herd losses due to famine, drought, or cow illnesses. Cattle rustling occurs in traditional African communities when young people or children are sent to the bush with livestock for grazing,
giving the rustlers an easy opportunity to threaten and rustle the livestock from the young people looking after the animals with the utmost ease and without any resistance.
However, recent cattle rustling incidents in northwestern Nigeria, particularly in Kaduna state, have portrayed a different picture. The increased sophistication of the rustlers, who were generally armed with hazardous weapons when attacking the targeted villages, is ascribed to the growth in cattle rustling and rural banditry hitting villages and towns in Kaduna state.
Rural banditry and violent conflict between pastoralists and farmers have also increased in Nigeria in recent years. This social conflict has traditionally consisted of disputes over natural resources and is often presented as a conflict between pastoralists and farmers over land,
but it has recently devolved into rural banditry with high human and economic costs, ranging from sexual assaults on women and girls to attacks on villages to cattle rustling (Mohammed and Jibrin, 2015).
Cattle rustling has evolved into a pattern of organised crime with enormous criminal cunning and efficiency throughout the years. As a result, modern livestock rustlers use modern weapons and engage in trans-locational and trans-national syndication (Okoli and Opaleke 2014).
To add to the devastation caused by livestock across Nigeria, the Miyetti Allah livestock Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) claims that at least 40 million cattle have been stolen from its members in the last two years. People's Daily, March 26, 2015.
This new pattern of an organised criminal syndicate of cattle rustlers with sufficient numerical strength and fire power has made it necessary for local vigilantes to recruit more members and expand their operation to cover the majority of the vulnerable villages/hamlets devastated by cattle rustlers' activities.
The vigilantes' activities in some of the villages/hamlets in the respective towns of Birnin gwari local government area, which were aimed at targeting suspected cattle rustlers, were usually uncoordinated, which invariably resulted in reprisal killings, with vigilante members and cattle owners suffering the most casualties.
The communities targeted by cattle rustlers' activities in Kaduna state's Birnin gwari local government were primarily permeable with rough terrain, making effective patrol and surveillance nearly impossible. This allowed the rustlers to operate freely on motorcycles, armed with lethal weapons.
When they arrive in any targeted village/hamlet, they shoot sporadically to scare the local vigilantes and cattle owners, sometimes inflicting serious injuries or multiple deaths on the victims in order to eliminate any resistance from the cattle owners and allow them to easily move the rustled cattle to their hideouts in the forest.
The problem was exacerbated further by the influx of foreign nomads from various places into some of the forested areas of Shittu, Tudun jega, Bagom, and Goron dutse towns of Birnin gwari Local Government. This occurred due to drought, hunger, or armed war, all of which have invariably undercut the efficacy and hegemony of traditional community leaders,
which had previously served as a social control mechanism in rural areas. The issue of immigrants' nomads' assimilation and adaptation to new norms and values, as well as the proliferation of violent cultural traits and the provision of lethal weaponry to indigenous nomads, constituted a severe threat to these rural communities.
The significant increase in reprisal killings, constant raiding of villages/hamlets by cattle rustlers and harassment of women and girls, rape and kidnapping of cattle owners,
and the government's failure to address the problem has forced many herdsmen to migrate out of these towns who could not bear the uncertainty and constant threat to their livelihood.
The increased movement of people, particularly herders and their animals, out of Birnin gwari Local Government has resulted in massive economic losses, as agriculture is the region's foundation, with livestock playing a considerable role.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Rural areas in northwestern Nigeria, particularly in Kaduna state, have been ravaged in recent years by banditry, the proliferation of firearms, kidnapping, and indiscriminate slaughter, all of which have a direct influence on the problem of cattle rustling.
The problem has reached an alarming level in the Birnin gwari local government region, particularly in the four towns of Shittu, Tudun jega, Bagom, and Goron dutse. The huge loss of life, cattle, and property of innocent herders and farmers has harmed the town's social fabric and economic backbone.
Some negative consequences of continuous occurrences of rural banditry relate to a society's social capital in terms of family and communal cohesion, gender relations, and customary institutions that condition social control and may hinder human development chances.
In certain cases, armed banditry has been coupled by sexual violence against women and young girls, the repercussions of which cannot be underestimated.
Terror caused by armed banditry is a major component that might cause displacement and postpone later return and resettlement. internal or cross-border migration can occur. It has been noted that forced displacement destroys families and communities, disrupts regular economic operations, and undermines human growth.
It is also worth noting that, contrary to conventional wisdom. Women and children are not safe in today's bandit activities. They appear to take the brunt of the brunt in the form of rape, torture, and murder. 2002:26 (Muggah and Batchelor).
The direct implications for women victims of sexual violence during acts of armed violence, such as armed banditry, are numerous: psychological stress, pregnancy, and the spread of HIV. Sexual violence, on the other hand, has specific poverty repercussions.
Stigmatisation as prostitutes is prevalent, as is the loss of marriages and the ban of future marriage, as well as rejection by family and community members. As a result, women's access to livelihood assets such as land and labour is restricted, as is their participation in social capital. Security Centre for International Cooperation (2005:21).
The consequences of these heinous acts, including raids on herders and farmers by various gangs of bandits and indiscriminate killings of innocent villagers by rustlers, have raised concerns about the security agencies' ability to deal with crimes of this magnitude.
If allowed unchecked, this trend could lead to the complete annihilation of the town, which has previously been full of pastoral activities that have contributed to the prosperity of the rural economy.
As a result, it is critical to investigate some of the repercussions of cattle rustling on the economy of towns, which is heavily reliant on agricultural activity. Cattle rustlers' activities have impeded local residents from farming, trading, and rearing their domestic animals during both the rainy and dry seasons.
The lack of economic activities in these communities, combined with the fear of indiscriminate killing, has resulted in massive migration out of these towns, greatly undermining the social fabric of the impacted population.
Because of the enormous threat posed by the rustlers, cultural activities and other rituals such as naming and marriage ceremonies, as well as other traditional rites, are no longer practicable.
The study's goal is to investigate the socioeconomic consequences of cattle rustling in Birnin Gwari local government in Kaduna state, Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this research was to evaluate the state security concerns in northern Nigeria. The study employed cattle rustling in Kaduna state's Birnin Gwari local government area as a case study.
The following are the study's objectives:
Determine the socioeconomic impact of cattle rustling on the residents of Birnin gwari local government area in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
Identify the causes that have contributed to the current increase in cattle rustling in Birnin gwari.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What impact does cattle rustling have on the socioeconomic situations of the residents of Kaduna State's Birnin Gwari local government area?
What causes have contributed to the current increase in cattle rustling in Birnin gwarri?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Cattle rustling has had a negative impact on people's socioeconomic conditions in Kaduna state.
H02: No specific variables are to blame for livestock rustling in Kaduna state.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the implications of this study:
Contribute to knowledge by adding to the scarce existing literature on cattle rustling and other relevant concerns.
Highlight the socioeconomic repercussions of cattle rustling in the afflicted communities and other states in Nigeria in general.
Suggest policies for effectively addressing the problem of livestock rustling in the affected areas of Birnin Gwari and other Nigerian states facing similar issues.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study focuses on the harmful impact of cattle rustling in the Birnin gwari local government area of Kaduna state, Nigeria. Shittu, Bagom, Tudun jega, and Goron dutse are among the four towns under Birnin gwari that would receive special attention.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Cattle are huge domesticated mammals raised for milk, meat, and hides. Cattle are typically known as cows and oxen. They are typically the primary source of economic income among rural inhabitants, with both small-scale farmers and full-time herders keeping cattle for a variety of economic reasons.
Rustling is the stealing of grazing cattle or, more broadly, the acts of stealing animals through violence utilising usually hazardous weapons before, during, or soon after the incident.
Rustler – a person involved in cattle or livestock theft who usually works in groups and primarily in rural areas. In rural areas, they also committed armed robbery, arson, indiscriminate death of livestock owners, rape, and abduction of young girls and married women.
Vigilante – a civilian organisation working in a law enforcement role without legal authority, often in distant locations where law enforcement officials are insufficient or absent? The rural vigilantes are mostly men who lack training and procedures for interrogating suspects, resulting in adversarial relationships with family of those in their custody.
Herdsmen are people who keep an eye on a herd of cows, sheep, or other animals. They are typically nomads that travel from one location to another in search of pasture for their cattle to graze.
Fulani are a nomadic people from western and central Africa who are ethnically diverse. Many of them are nomadic in nature, herding cattle, goats, and sheep over vast dry grasslands while remaining isolated from local farming groups, making them the world's largest postural nomadic community.