Migration and the Emerging Security Challenges in West Africa: Case of Fulani Herders/Sedentary Farmers Conflicts in Nigeria
Recent history of Fulani migrants in Nigeria is inundated with pastoral nomadic violence exacerbated by the increase in the influx of migrating herders within the context of ecological history and Geopolitics. Drawing extensively from the ECOWAS protocol on free movement within the sub region, the Fulani pastoralist have unrestrained access to the nook and crannies of the Nigeria state with attendance violence in contest for scarce resources between local farmers and herders. This is occasioned by deepening environmental dynamics, climate change and climate induced constrictions, altering the age long concentric pattern of coexistence and cooperation to competition and conflict. This work seeks to interrogate this violent trend while trailing the pattern with the view to unraveling the cause of the conflict. The work takes a critical look at the subsisting ECOWAS protocol on free movement within the sub region of West Africa, and it consequences for sub-regional security amongst member states. Anchored on the political ecology perspective, the paper posits, the conflicts have been informed by the desperate struggle for competitive survival and subsistence in an environment characterized by ecological scarcity and livelihood insecurity and the unchallenged culture of arms bearing by the Fulani herders over the years. The work concludes that an urgent constitutional provision is necessary that will provide for private Ranching as a panacea to the perennial conflict between herders and local farmers in Nigeria.
Key Words: Fulani Herders, Conflict, Migration, Local Farmers, Ecological Scarcity