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Land as a Major Source Conflict Between Farmers and Herders in OYO State

Ukpong Christiana*

Department of Agricultural and Food Policy, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Ibadan, Nigeria

*For correspondence:
Ukpong Christiana, Department of Agricultural and Food Policy, The Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Ibadan, Nigeria

E-mail: [email protected]

Received: 04/10/2021; Accepted: 18/10/2021; Published: 25/10/2021

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Abstract

The conflict between farmers and herders is an age long thing that has been attributed to a different thing among which is competition for land. Nigeria which is one of the African countries is not immune to these conflicts. Farmers/herders crisis with other form of insecurity problem have threatened the development, unity and existence as a nation; the different mechanism put in place by the government to manage the crisis have not achieved the required outcome rather the conflict is increasing in intensity. The eco-violence by Homer-Dixon which seek to explain the relationship between environmental factors and violent conflicts was adopted in this study. The study design was descriptive Survey and Case study method; the study area was Iwajowa local government area of Oyo Sate. The primary and secondary data were used. 65questionnares were administered to 50 farmers selected from 5 communities from 5 agricultural zones of the Local Government Area and 15 herders. The study concluded that in other to manage the crisis between farmer and herders, the government to effectively revisits the Land-Use Act of 1978 in other to resolve the re-occurring conflicts in the agricultural sector which currently provides employment to over 80% of the country’s population. It also recommended that state and local government should put laws in place that will ensure effective regulation of grazing and farming activities in Iwajowa Local Government area of Oyo State through efficient land-use laws/legislations and administration and open grazing should be ban in Oyo state and other areas that are experiencing farmers/herders conflict in the country.

Keywords: Land; Farmers; Herders; Conflict; Government

Introduction

Since time immemorial competition over land-use has been found to be the cause of conflict in the world. This is because land is a vital resource use for building housing, agriculture, mining, transportation but it is limited in supply. This therefore put great pressures on the available land. All human activities whether in urban or rural area are dependent on land. Agriculture which is the process of providing food for man and other purposes is also done on land. However, agricultural land must be rich in nutrient and water which makes it suitable for agricultural production activities. Farmers and herders which are the largest agricultural land-user needs land to carry out their activities. However, the conflict between the two major agricultural land users over the use of existing land is not a new thing but it’s an age long thing that has been existing for a long in different part of Nigeria. Due to the economic importance of land to the group, it is therefore not surprising that unhealthy competition will exist between the two groups on the use, control, ownership and acquisition of land. Nigeria which is one of the African countries is not immune to these conflicts. The crisis serves and other insecurity bedeviling the state serve as a threat to Nigeria development, unity and existence as a nation as the different solutions put in place by the government and other stakeholders to manage the crisis have not achieved the required outcome.

Although the two of them have co-existed for over a long period of time, the crisis between farmers and herders over competition on who owns and control economically viable lands in the country is taking a more drastic dimension. This is because more sophisticated arms are used by herders leading to the death of many farmers, the perceived lack of political will on the part of the government at the federal level to manage this conflict, destruction of properties and the crisis is gradually taking an ethnic dimension against the Fulani’s who are generally seen as herders [1]. There by, heightened the insecurity problem in country. Farmers-herders conflict in the 21st century in the use of agricultural land are becoming intense because of a number factors such as climatic change which is pushing herders southward in search of water and grasses, increased human population etc. Iwajowa local government area of Oyo State which is the focus of this study is largely agrarian in nature with majority of the people engaging in different form of farming activities and cattle rearing business. The local government has over the years been curtailing the constant conflict between farmers and herders over the land-use.

Over the years there has been an unhealthy competition between farmers and herders over the use of arable land leading to conflict between the two major agricultural land users in Nigeria and other part of the world. This point was further supported by studies conducted by who stated that indeed, the competition for arable land-use in the 21st century is becoming more intense and fiercer, this is largely due to the increasing human and animal populations in the world. This is because the increase in human and animal population has led to great pressure being asserted on available land resources which have various environmental and socio-economic implications.

Oke-ogun area of Oyo state where Iwajowa local government area is located is not immune to this conflict. This is because the area is largely agrarian in nature thereby making it susceptible to serious overt and covert manifestation of hostilities and social friction. The conflicts have numerous effects such as adding to the increase insecurity in the country, it has also demonstrated an ability to lead food insecurity as many farmers and herders are killed, same with livestock and crops are destroyed. It has also lead to arms proliferation as both parties continue to stocks arms to defend themselves. The crisis is gradually taking a more dimension of an ethnic tension as herders all over Nigeria as now seen as Fulani herdsmen that should be avoided or destroyed at whatever cost.

Furthermore, the continuing herdsmen militancy for the survival of their cattle makes fierce struggle and violent conflicts with farmers inevitable. As farmers continuously encroach on grazing routes, they leave the Fulani with no alternative to neither retreat nor surrender. The traditional practices that focus on the close integration between rising of livestock and enhanced farming have posed serious dialectics in the dynamic relationships between pastoralists and farmers in Ibarapa Local Government Area, Oyo State-Nigeria. However, the conflicts between Fulani pastoralists and farmers in are essentially economic in nature, irrespective of the religious, cultural and political colourations that might be diluted to advance certain objectives. The following research questions: how is land as a resource causing conflict between Herdsmen and Farmers in Iwajowa LGA, Oyo State, Nigeria? What are the impacts of the conflict on the Iwajowa land in particular and Nigeria state in general? What conflict management methods are employed in managing the conflict between farmers and herders?

Materials and Methods

Land as a source of conflict

A wide body of scientific literature on Sub-Saharan Africa has consistently acknowledged the historical co-existence of farmers and herders in symbiotic relationships. It was also reported that the relationships between farmers and herders in Sub-Saharan Africa have always been multi-dimensional and like most social relationships, it was characterized by both cooperation and conflict. It was also acknowledged the long historical record of fluctuating conflict, competition and co-operation between settled farmers and nomadic herders in the continent. Such relationships were realized through reciprocity, exchange and support. This however, did not mean that conflicts between farmers and herders were non-existent. Quite to the contrary, these relationships were characterized by both conflict and complementarity and were actually two faces of the same coin.

In recent time, however, the crisis between farmer-herder is common in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The root causes of the conflict between Fulani nomadic herdsmen and sedentary farmers have been traced to land and its resources. The socio-economic lives of both farmers and herdsmen revolve around land and therefore, land matters become easily conflictual. The destruction of farm lands and crops by herds of cattle and the inability of the government at various levels whether the federal, state or local government to effectively addressed the issue of provision of grazing land to accommodate the interest of herdsmen who are always on the move to secure pasture and water for their herds of Cattle.

The conflict between farmers and herders in Nigeria and other part of the world is not new but has only change in intensity and dimension with number of casualties increasing and more Small Scale and Light Weapons are being used. It was pointed out that Land in most communities in Nigeria such as among the Tiv people in the Benue valley, is freighted with symbolic meaning, it is sacred and considered as an ancestral and historical sphere of influence [2]. On the strength of this, therefore, conflicts over land are usually fierce with massive destructions of lives and properties.

In this way, land resources have continued to have major historical, cultural and spiritual significance. Due to increased population pressure and the diversification of rural land use patterns in Nigeria (i.e. expansion of settled and ranching farming, national parks, towns and settlements) access to pasture and water for livestock has diminished thus prompting pastoralists to migrate to the southern parts of the country. Such or transhumant movement is usually characterized by conflict with farmers. These conflicts have escalated into widespread violence leading to loss of property, massive displacement of people and loss of lives.

Furthermore, factors such as inadequate grazing reserve and stock routes; changes in land tenure system; insufficient legislation pastoralism; expansion in agricultural policies; economic factors and climate change have also been identified as the long-term causes of the conflicts. Closely connected to this, is another critical issue that is related to land in Nigeria is the phenomenon of indigene ship. Essentially, the land tenure system in vogue in Nigeria is a precipitation of conflicts. This is because this process has created acute shortage of arable land thereby engendering disputes over the little that is available. Studies have shown that conflicts arose in the Benue Valley as a result of loss of land which the people considered as the basis of their social, economic and spiritual existence. Attempt to discount the people from this ancestral heritage usually resulted in large scale conflict.

Similarly, from the studies carried out by the author opined that the 1999 Nigerian Constitution is deficient in the provisions dealing with indigeneship/settler phenomenon. The author proffered a review of the Constitution with specific attention on the interests of immigrants ensuring that they possess rights and privileges as the indigenes. To correct this anomaly and ensure effective utilization of arable land in Nigeria, Agricultural development agencies like River Basins, Agricultural Development Projects (ADP), Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), National Agricultural Land Development Agencies (NALDA) etc. were introduced as panacea for improved Agricultural projects. It is important to stress the activities of the upper class in the society who have fallen advantage of the flaw in the 1976 Land Use Decree to appropriate large parcels of land to themselves. This development created peasants’ revolts in the different parts of Nigeria.

Factors responsible for the persistence farmers/herders conflict in Nigeria

A number of factors have been identified to contribute to the persistence of farmer-herder conflicts in Nigeria. These factors include; policy deficiencies and contradictions, insecurity of land tenure, inadequacy of capacity of the local institutions, corrupt practices etc. However, it is important to note that no single factor can adequately explain the persistence of the conflicts between farmers and herders over the years; instead a combined effect of these factors is responsible for the worsening situation.

Policy deficiencies and contradictions

The Land Policy in Nigeria (the Land-Use Act of 1978) which put all lands in the country under the state government. This land can be assigned by the state government for agricultural investment or any other purpose. However, the land policy has some deficiencies because it does not guarantee security of tenure to some users, especially small holder groups [3]. In the pretext of development, the land belonging to farmers and pastoralists has been given to state-backed investors. Thus, the pastoralists occupying semi-arid areas are often subject to efforts to alienate their customary pastures and land holdings, for purposes of commercial investments or establishment of wildlife conservation areas. Many pastoralists have argued that the Act does not provide for the protection and promotion of pastoralism but exclusively focuses on farming, thereby leading to frequent conflict between farmers and herders. The policies deficiencies and contradictions have led to unhealthy competition by both farmers and herders to appropriate perceived scarce resources to them in order to guarantee self-group survival often engender conflict. The herder will therefore move from one part of the country to another in search of pasture and water needed by the cattle to survivors. This movement often leads to conflict between farmers and herdsmen due to the destruction of crops by cattle. This is often as a result of herdsmen leaving cattle unattended to and thus, making them to wander to cultivated fields.

Lack of security of tenure and land grabbing

At the root of the conflicts between farmers and herders is the lack of security on land that rural producers subsist on. Overall the objective of the land policy is to promote and ensure secured land tenure system that encourages optimal use of land resources and facilitate broad based social and economic development without upsetting or endangering the ecological balance of the environment. The problem of lack of security of tenure facing farmers is best exemplified by eviction of many farmers in Benue and many other part of the country. These farmers have been occupying this land for years. This ownership is legally recognized under the land-use Act of 1978. The Fulani herdsmen have been accused of land grabbing which leads to encroaching on farmer’s local rights, marginalizing rural farmers who depend on their ancestral land, water and other natural resources. In the face of policy deficiency in the state-backed investments has all contributed to this malaise facing farmers.

Corruption

One of the causes of farmers and herder’s crisis is corrupt practices within the country. Many of these herders are non-Nigerians who pay little or no money to migrate into the country through the different porous borders. The different security agencies have never for once arrested any of these herders for migrating into the country without documentation. Another perspective to the corrupt practice is that traditional rulers and other stakeholders in many local communities who are supposed to be the custodian of law and orders are directly or indirectly involve in promoting the conflict. Personnel of the different security agencies are not left out in the corrupt practices as they have been accused of collecting bribes from cattle owners which makes them bias in the way they handle the conflict between farmers and herders. This affected the confidence the communities and farmers have in their capacities to manage farmers and herders conflict. In affirming the role of corruption it was stated that corruption undermining people’s trust in authorities and the willingness of these authorities to prevent conflicts.

Poor conflict management capacity of local institutions

Inevitable in all human society; it is therefore important to manage this conflict to prevent them from turning to crisis. The process of doing this is called conflict management. Conflict management can therefore be defined as the deliberate effort to manage and prevent conflict in the country. The influx of livestock into areas which were once dominated by crop cultivators has contributed to the occurrence and persistence of conflicts between farmers and herders. This has been an inevitable outcome because the cultural values and attitudes which used to provide the basis for interaction and the norms by which individuals and communities live have been altered. At village level the traditional conflict resolution machinery has been weakened partly by the emergence of statutory approaches based on formal procedures, and on the other, by the influx of herders who do not share the values and beliefs upon which these mechanisms were anchored. This has made these conflicts difficult to solve because traditional instruments of conciliation, such as compromise and consensus are failing. Experts underscore that with the disappearance of indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms the tranquility as underscored by the principles of reciprocity, inclusivity and a sense of shared destiny between people remain elusive. The level officials always favor the herders because the livestock is a new source of revenue, and in some ways these officials may have full knowledge on the actual owners of part of the livestock herds. In this way these officials work with full orders from high ranking politicians who may also own part of the livestock, and thus contributing to the arrogance of the herders”. Expert provide evidence on the nature of government responses to farmer–herder in Nigeria where army and the police are used to manage or sometimes to resolve the conflicts. At the district level, the management of farmer-herder conflicts nearly throughout the country is dealt with by the District Defense and Security Committee.

Inadequate and poor management of grazing reserve

One the cause of farmer/herders conflict in Nigeria and most part of Sub-Saharan Africa is the problem of grazing reserves. Due to population explosion more herds of cattle are needed to feed the teeming population can survive, the improvement in science have also made it possible for many Cattles to survive from different diseases including Trypanosomiasis. However, many people that are into cattle rearing don’t have and maintain good grazing reserve, as believe it is the responsibility of the government to provide for them grazing reserves. They therefore prefer to move their Cattles from one place to another in search of grasses to feed their Cattles. Most times, these Cattles stray into farm land destroying their crops thereby leading to conflict between farmers and herders. In addition to that is the problem of poor management of the few available grazing reserves in the country, cattle owners allow to cattle to graze continuously on the grazing reserves without plan to regrow or properly maintain them. These twin problems have resulted in a significant reduction in available livestock feed resources, in particular in Nigeria.

Non-observation of rules and regulations

Both farmers and pastoralists flout the dry season farming and grazing rules. Some farmers deliberately leave part of their harvest on the farm to lure pastoralists in attempt to get compensation that would be more than the actual worth of the crops. Some pastoralists also are no longer paying the traditional homage or inform local rulers when they arrive the village. In some case also the authority of traditional rulers had been eroded and rendered them effective. This are some the problems causing farmers and herders crisis in the country as many of these herders are now being seen as alien or law breakers who will add nothing good to their community but pain and sorrow. This is one of the causes of crisis between farmers and herders in Nigeria.

Farmland close to road and water scarcity

Many farmers who have their farms very close to the road or animal path are likely to have their crops destroyed in the farm by these Cattles whenever there is a loose control on the cattle. This is because the Cattles are usually more than the capacity of the herders to control. The closeness of farmland to road shows that such closeness often leads to real threat on farming system. Another factor is the problem of water, all animals including Cattles needs water to survive. During the rainy season, herders can easily get water for Cattles in ponds, well or spring, however, during the dry season they search for water which is an often low-land area. Farmers at this time, often engage in nursing their crops at the same water point because of dryness in the upland areas. This shows that herdsmen move where there is a push factors in order to locate a region of conveniences. This thereby leads to conflict between herders and farmers in the community and the country at large.

Less-diseased region

One of the causes of conflict between farmers and herders is the movement of Cattle to areas that are free of diseases. The area that is void of animal diseases, like tsetse fly, is the favourite location where animals could survive. For instance, the herdsmen residing at “Gaa Rore” (one of the Fulani settlements visited) migrated to a new location that relieved them from possible attack of Tsetse fly. The movement of herders with their Cattle in large group to an area free of diseases is likely to cause conflict between them and farmers. This is because it will first lead to pressure on the available resources resulting in unhealthy competition between them and farmers for the limited available resources.

Results and Discussion

The eco-violence theory by thomas homer-dixons

This research adopts the theory of eco-violence as its analytical framework. The theory of eco-violence is an emerging theoretical construct seeking to explicate the relationship between environmental factors and violent conflicts. The theory holds thus: Decrease in the quality and quantity of renewable resources, population growth, and resource access act singly or in various combinations to increase the scarcity, for certain population groups, of cropland, water, forests, and fish. This can reduce economic productivity, both for the local groups experiencing the scarcity and for the larger regional and national economies. The affected people may migrate or be expelled to new lands. Migrating groups often trigger ethnic conflicts when they move to new areas, while decreases in wealth can cause deprivation conflicts.

Applied to the purpose of the present discourse, the theory of eco-violence offers insights into the nature and dynamics of the herdsmen/farmers conflicts in Nigeria. In this regard, it is to be observed that the conflicts have been driven by the desperation of the affected groups to protect and advance their livelihood interests in the context of an ever shrinking ecological space, characterized by resource-scarcity, livelihood crisis, population explosion, and resource competition [4]. In the case Farmers and Herders State, which is the focus of this study, the situation has been accentuated by the scarcity of arable land which has in a way induced the migration of pastoralists from the far North to the West of Nigeria in search of grazing fields. The outcome of this scenario in Iwajowa area of Oke-ogun, Oyo state. This area has been the prevailing internecine herder/farmer conflict, which has so far defied all remedies.

Methodology

The study will mainly focus on land as a source of conflict between farmers and herders in Iwajowa local government area of Oyo Sate. It will also trace the major causes of conflict between farmers and herders, the effects of these conflicts on the farmers, cattle herders, community and the Nigeria State in general (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The research design is the descriptive survey.

The research design is the descriptive survey. The study investigated land as a source of conflict between farmers and herdsmen in Iwajowa Local Government Area of Oyo, Nigeria. The local government have it’s headquarter is in the town of Iwere Ile. Other town and settlements include Iganna, Ilaji-Ile, Idiko-Ile, Ayetoro Ile, Itasa, Idiko Ago, Elekookan, Ijio, Ayegun Wasimi and over 350 villages and farm settlements. The inhabitants of the area are predominantly Yoruba cohabiting peacefully with other tribes such as Fulani, Hausa, Tiv, Egede and others who engage in cattle rearing, large scale farming and hunting. This explains why food and cash crops are readily available at considerably cheap rates. The primary data was collected using structured questionnaire randomly administered to 50 farmers selected from 5 communities from 5 agricultural zones of the Local Government Area. In addition, fifteen (15) nomadic cattle herders were purposively selected from the chosen communities. This gave a sample size of 65 respondents.

The farmers were selected from the register of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN). The selection was based on the following criteria:

  • That they have been farming in the community for at least two years.
  • That they must have been affected by the activities of nomadic herders in the study; and
  • That they represented the diversity of other farmers in the study area.

The secondary data on the other hand are: books, journals, newspapers articles, online materials and other unpublished materials. The data collected were analyzed using simple frequencies and percentages (Tables 1).

Table 1. Socio-economic characteristics of the respondents.

Parameters Product code
BB-1 BB-2 BB-3 BB-4
Moisture content (%) 1.11 ± 0.01 2.12 ± 0.02 2.36 ± 0.02 5.69 ± 0.02
Fat (%) 18.30 ± 0.02 19.42 ± 0.02 19.78 ± 0.01 20.21 ± 0.01
Protein (%) 6.40 ± 0.01 6.46 ± 0.04 6.41 ± 0.01 6.47 ± 0.03
Ash (%) 1.60 ± 0.02 1.81 ± 0.01 2.21 ± 0.02 2.61 ± 0.02
Crude fiber (%) 0.18 ± 0.01 0.19 ± 0.02 0.22 ± 0.00 0.23 ± 0.01
Carbohydrate (%) 72.41 ± 0.04 70.00 ± 0.06 69.03 ± 0.02 64.79 ± 0.02
Source: Field Survey, 2021.

The major causes of conflict as indicated in the study area as indicated by farmers and herders are as follows. 2 (3.07%) of the respondents agreed that the contamination of streams either by cattle dungs or chemicals such as herbicides. The farmers complain that the dungs from cattle makes the water unsuitable for drinking and other purposes while the herders complained that the chemicals from the farm which is wash into the river during erosion makes is toxic to their animals.

Another major cause of the conflict between farmers and herders is the destruction of crops by cattle. This seem to be one of the major cause between farmers and herders as seen from the high frequency and percentage {12(18.6%)}. This view point was supported by experts who stated that the most frequent cause of such conflict is the destruction of crops by cattle. These cattle enter the farm to feed on the foliage of crop even in the presence of the herdsmen who pretend not to notice such destruction (Table 2).

Table 2. Age of respondents.

Farmers Frequency Percentages (%) Herders Frequency Percentages (%)
21-25 8 16 15-25 8 53.3
26-30 12 24 26-36 4 26.7
31-35 10 20 37-47 2 13.3
36-above 20 40 47-above 1 6.7
Total 50 100 Total 15 100
Source: Field Survey, 2021.

The disregard of local tradition, customs and religion of the people is one of the major of conflict between farmers and herders. Many communities where farming activities are done on large scale are usually rural. They have an effective traditional system of government headed. A visitor is expected to first go to the palace of the king and pay homage. Many of these nomadic herders don’t do it neither do they respect their culture, tradition nor religion (traditional religion) practiced. Another reason is that the nomadic herdsmen allow their cattle to over graze {7(10.7%)} on fallow land continuously and over-grazing {7(10.8)} emanates therefrom. These twin problems are also contributing to farmers and herders conflict in Iwajowa area of Oyo state and the Nigerian state in general. Many herders have been accused of ensuring that their cattle overgraze a ranch and they do nothing to regrow it. This causes erosion on the plot of land thereby making it infertile and difficult to cultivate by the farmers (Table 3).

Table 3. Educational level of respondents.

Farmers Frequency Percentages (%) Herders Education Frequency Percentages (%)
Education
Illiterate 4 8 Illiterate 2 13.3
Arabic 2 4 Arabic 5 33.3
Primary 10 20 Primary 4 26.7
Secondary 18 36 Secondary 3 20
Tertiary 16 32 Tertiary 1 6.7
Total 50 100 Total 15 100
Source: Field Survey, 2021.

Furthermore, there is the problem of sexual harassment of female by the nomadic herders in many farming communities. Many farmers have accused herders of raping and maiming women. Rape is an abomination in many traditional societies there are lot of stigma the victim faces which may affect her psychologically. It is worst because sometimes it is always difficult to trace these herders as they are nomadic. Once they carry out a nefarious act in a particular community they quickly mitigate to another community (Table 4).

Table 4. Family size of respondents.

Farmers Frequency Percentages (%) Herders Frequency Percentages (%)
01-May 7 14 01-May 1 6.7
06-Oct 22 44 06-Oct 3 20
Nov-15 13 26 Nov-15 3 20
16-20 5 10 16-20 6 40
21 upward 3 6 21- upward 2 13.3
Total 50 100 Total 15 100
Source: Field Survey, 2021.

This have led to another problem of youths harassing {2(3.07)} nomads because of anger from having a loved one being raped by a presumed herder. Cattle rustling {6(9.23%)} was another major cause of conflict between farmers and herders. In every community, there are miscreants. Some of these have been caught stealing bulls and cows by the nomadic herders. This leads to the killing of the thieves. These killings often enraged the host communities (Table 5).

Table 5. Farm or Herds size of the respondents.

Farmers (Hectares) Frequency Percentages Herder’s Herd Size Frequency Percentages
01-May 17 34 Jan-25 5 33.3
06-Oct 13 26 25-50 4 26.7
Nov-15 10 20 51-75 3 20
16-20 6 12 76-100 2 13.3
21 upward 4 8 100 and above 1 6.7
Total 50 100 15 15 100
Source: Field Survey, 2021.

Experts affirmed this by stating that the frequent loss of cattle to rustlers has worsened the already tensed farmer-herder relationship. Farmers in anger often slaughter cattle that destroy their crops. This has caused a lot of problem between the host farming communities and the nomadic herdsmen who did not always think of the value of the damaged crops, but their cattle (Table 6).

Table 6. Causes of conflict between Farmers and Herdsmen.

S/N Causes Frequency Percentages
1 Farming on cattle route 6 9.23
2 Overgrazing on farmland 7 10.769
3 Open grazing in the 21st century 15 23.01
4 Poor ranches 4 6.15
5 Destruction of crops by cattle 12 18.46
6 Cattle rustling 6 9.23
7 Harassment of nomads by youths 2 3.07
8 Raping women by herdsmen 4 6.15
9 Indiscriminate burning of bushes 2 3.07
10 Disregard of local tradition by herdsmen 5 7.69
11 Contamination of streams by cattle 2 3.07
  Total 65 100
Source: Field Survey 2021.

Farmers and herders’ contribution to any society are fundamental to the survival of any society as they provide food needed for survival. The effects of farmers and herders conflict are numerous as shown in the table above (Table 4.7). It includes reduction in yield {4(6.2%)}, whether in terms of farm produce that is destroyed during this crisis or in terms of animals that are also killed or destroyed during this crisis. This problem leads to low income {9(13.9%) for both the farmers and the herders as the number of cattle or farm produce they are taking to the market to sell will reduce. They therefore make little or no profit from the great effort they put in either rearing cattle or planting crops due to destruction from the crisis between both parties (Table 7).

Table 7: Effect of Farmers/Herders Conflict.

Effects Frequency Percentage (%)
Reduce yield 4 6.2
Low income 9 13.9
Death and Injuries 8 12.3
Arms Proliferation 5 7.7
Destruction property 6 9.2
Loss of stored produce 8 12.3
Food scarcity 6 9.2
Increased insecurity 14 21.5
IDPs/Refugees 5 7.7
Total 65 100
Source: Researcher Field Survey, 2021.

Another effect of the conflict is the death and injury 8(12.3) that is experienced by either or both party during the conflict. Each of the party tries to defeat the other by maiming or exterminating it during conflict. They therefore do anything they will make them defeat the other including the use of dangerous weapons and charms. During the conflict so many lives as been lost while many others have sustained different degrees of injuries. Other effects of the conflict are arms proliferation 5(7.7), destruction of properties 6(9.2%), loss of stored produce 8(12.3%), food scarcity 6(9.2%), increased insecurity 14(21.5%) and making many people internally displaces persons in their country or refugees 5(7.7%) in other neighboring countries. Such displaced farmers have become a source of liability to other farmers whom they have to beg for food for themselves and their families. This has created a vicious cycle of poverty in such communities.

All these effect tends to negatively affect their savings, credit re-payment ability, as well as the food security and economic welfare. It also discourages the agricultural development by driving away potential investors from coming to the country [5]. The problem of insecurity has the highest score because it is very broad in scope. When a farmer or herder is not safe going to the farm or taking their herd of Cattles for grazing is a kind of insecurity. On the part of the herdsmen, losses-whether material or not were minimal indicating that farmers experienced more losses than the herdsmen. In the process, there are reported cases of proliferation of small arms and ammunitions since the host farming communities and the herdsmen saw each other as archenemies.

Conclusion

Land one of the factors of production is a key of nature and one of the most important resources on earth. The ownership and control for land and its resources have remained one of the major causes of conflict on between farmers and herders. These conflicts have become more intense, widespread and destructive. The research therefore concludes that it is of great importance for the government to effectively revisit the Land-Use Act of 1978 in other to resolve the re-occurring conflicts in the agricultural sector which currently provides employment to over 80% of the country’s population.

Recommendations

This has been the bane of sustainable peace and progress in most parts of Oyo State. As a panacea to this problem, the research recommends the following:

  • The government should look into the land Use decree of 1978 to manage all issues of land ownership.
  • The state and local government should put laws in place that will ensure effective regulation of grazing and farming activities in Iwajowa Local Government area of Oyo State through efficient land-use laws/legislations and administration;
  • The government of Oyo state should ban open grazing in Oyo state and other areas that are experiencing farmers/herders conflict in the country.
  • Many of these herders are non-Nigerians; the immigration department and other security agencies should arrest and send them back to their country. While the immigration and custom department should be vigilant at the various border points to prevent illegal entry of these persons.
  • The government and cattle owners should do more in the area of creating grazing reserves that should be well maintained in order to solve the issue of herd’s encroachment on farmlands and vice versa;
  • Sensitization of stakeholders which are farmers and herdsmen on the need for mutual co-existence and peace; this would help to forestall needless provocations and opportunistic violence.

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