Land use conflict between farmers and herdsmen in parts of Kano, Yobe and Borno States of Nigeria: nomads’ viewpoints
Incessant conflicts between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria have claimed many lives and properties and a number of conflict resolution meetings and solution-based researches have taken place. But it appears not much has been achieved with regard to identifying the originator of the conflict and the most effective methods of resolving the conflict. Attempts were made in this study, using a questionnaire survey, to elicit information from the herdsmen on the cases, causes and the most effective methods of conflict resolution. One hundred and twenty copies of questionnaire were purposively administered among pastoralists in thirteen communities, selected randomly from six (6) Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the study area. The result showed that 28.3% never engaged in any conflict with farmers while 32.5% had violent conflicts with farmers between one and five times and 18.3% clashed with farmers not less than fifteen (15) times. The result also showed that intrusion on the grazing reserves (31.7%) and encroachment on waterholes for cattle (9.2%) were farmers’ actions that caused skirmishes while deliberate grazing of cattle on crops (23.3%) and herder’s indiscriminate bush burning (20.8%) often infuriated the farmers. Going by these findings, while the actions of farmers constituted 40.9%, herder’s actions amounted to 44.1%, which implies that herders were sometimes the instigators of farmers-herders conflict. Again, the study discovered that the intervention of local chiefs and religious leaders in such conflicts was more effective than that of law enforcement agents, which means that in conflict resolution, dialogue is more valuable than coercion. In conclusion, the study generated a synthesis of information on the cases, causes and mechanisms of conflict resolution and affirms the need for proper control of the resources that is the source of the conflicts.