The Effect of Herders and Farmers Conflict and Land Grabbing on the Attainment of Christian Religious Objective in Bokkos Lga
The study was conducted in Bokkos LGA, Plateau state with the objective of investigating the effect of herders and farmers conflict and land grabbing on the attainment of Christian religious objective. This was followed by the selection of 100 Christians both pastors and church members in Bokkos LGA, through snowball sampling to obtain a sample size of 126 respondents. Data were gathered with the aid of structured interview schedules; however, Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was also conducted with separate groups of herders and farmers. Descriptive statistics (mean, frequency counts, percentages) were used to describe the personal characteristics of crop farmers and cattle herders, identify the types of conflict resolution mechanisms employed by these institutions and determine the causes of the conflict as well as examine the institutions involved in the management and resolution of the conflict and logistic regression analysis was used to examine the factors responsible for the cause of conflict in the study area. Results from the findings indicate that 75% of the cattle herders had no formal education implying that formal education level is very low. Crop damage by cattle (3.165, P<0.01), encroachment of cattle routes (2.175, P<0.01), inadequate grazing reserves (3.444, P<0.01), and these conflicts led to a decline in church activities and gathering.
- Background to the Study
Peace is a veritable factor that helps in the developments of any nation. Peace exists where there is mutual understanding between people of diverse ethno-religious background. This peace was enjoyed in Plateau Sate until 2012 when that peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims was shattered as a result of religious conflict in Bokko L.G.A. In reporting that conflict, some sections of the media only facilitated the escalation of the conflict to other parts of the state.
Nigeria has experienced and is still experiencing conflicts of grave proportions among several ethnic and religious communities across the states. These conflicts significantly vary in dimension, process and the groups involved. It was observed by Momale (2003) that, while some conflicts arise between same resource user group such as between one farming community and another, others occur between different user groups such as between herders and farmers or between foresters and farmers. Adisa (2012) observed that the farmers-herdsmen conflict has remained the most preponderant resource-use conflict in Nigeria.
According to Abbas (2009) a study of major sources of conflicts between the Fulani pastoralists (to be used interchangeably with “herders” or “herdsmen”) and farmers shows that land related issues, especially on grazing fields, account for the highest percentage of the conflicts. In other words, struggles over the control of economically viable lands cause more tensions and violent conflicts among communities.
Social and economic factors continue to provoke violent conflicts among the Fulani pastoralists and farmers. The intensity and variations of the conflicts largely depend on the nature and type of the user groups where the pastoralists graze. These conflicts have constituted serious threats to the means of survival and livelihoods of both the farmers and pastoralists and what both groups are tenaciously protecting. The conflicts (though provocative) over access rights to farmland and cattle routes (labi), have become ubiquitous and seems to have defied solutions (Abbas, 2009). However, Coser (2000) has noted that, the inevitability of conflict in the claim for scarce resource is considered here as the bane for struggles over the inestimable value for land and its resource, with the claim for ownership and the claim for its position as a common resource. Nevertheless, the complex land use system that has changed markedly overtime has culminated in the present day tension and conflicts between Fulani herdsmen and host communities.
1.2 Problem Statement
Historical tensions between Nigeria’s pastoralist Fulani and settled indigenous farmers have intensified in recent years, with dwindling natural resources and land availability greatly contributing to the ongoing, escalating conflict in the country (Okello et al., 2014.).
Berger (2003) considered that, pastures, woody vegetation, water resources and land are taken as a common property resource. The increasing number of reports of violence at this occupational boundary makes understanding herder-farmer conflicts an urgent task. We need to know not just why friction begins, but also why and how, as some conflicts unfold they articulate with religious, ethnic, and political conditions (Morizt, 2010).
Competition-driven conflicts between arable crop farmers and cattle herdsmen have become common occurrences in many parts of Nigeria (Ingawa et al., 1999). The competition between these two agricultural land user-groups has often times turned into serious overt and covert hostilities and social friction in many parts of Nigeria (Adisa, 2012). Cases of herders-farmers conflicts are widespread in recent times. Nweze (2005) also stated that, many farmers and herders have lost their lives and herds while others have experienced dwindling productivity in their herds. In most of these encounters, citizens are regularly killed and the destruction or loss of property leaves an already endangered populace even poorer. The frequency and scale of these communal conflicts have become alarming (Leadership Newspaper, May 17, 2011).
The dimension of militancy in the conflicts is associated with the advent of the aggressive Udawa and Bokoloji pastoralists which further led to the emergence and introduction of guns and other sophisticated weapons in the conflicts as well as the use of mobile phones, accompanied with banditry. All these have produced adverse consequences in the destruction of villages, settlements, crops, irrigation facilities, human and animal lives. The incidence of serious cases of conflicts for survival between pastoralists and farmers also led to loss of lives and destruction of properties with the emergence of insecurity due to the continuous desire for vengeance by the parties involved (Pyramid Trust, July 17, 2009).
The rate of the incessant conflicts between Fulani herdsmen and farmers made the Local, States and the Federal Government of Nigeria to employ different mechanisms in order to end the menace. For instance, the Federal Government of Nigeria has commenced the construction of grazing reserves, and has clearly delineated stock routes covering 1,000,000 hectares in Jangere village of Plateau state (NAN in Daily Trust, September 22, 2009).
During the 2004 Makarfi religious mayhem, where nine churches were burnt down, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Plateau State and the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI) in Kaduna State each accused the media for either taking sides or for not reporting the actual situation of the conflict. It is not surprising therefore that often than not, the action or reactions of Muslims to Christians or vice versa is determined by the mass media reports (Bidmos, 1993).
Although much has been written herdsmen and famers conflict, however, not much has been written about its effects on the Christians attainment of their objectives precisely in Bokko, Plateau state. This study sets out to investigate the impact conflicts between Herdsmen and farmers have on Christian religion’s practices and growth in the study area.
- Research Questions
- What are the socio-economic characteristics of crop farmers and cattle herders in Plateau state?
- What are the factors responsible for the conflict between crop farmers and herders in the State?
- What is the effect of the conflict on the attainment of Christians religious objective in Bokku L.G.A.
- What are the types of conflict resolution mechanisms employed by the institutions?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
- describe the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents in the study areas;
- examine the factors responsible for the conflict between crop farmers and cattle herders in the State;
- examine the effect of the conflict on the attainment of Christian religious objective in Bokko LG.A.
- identify and describe the types of conflict resolution mechanisms employed by these
1.5 Hypothesis of study
H0: There is no significant impact of herdsmen and farmers conflict on the attainment of Christian religious objective in bokkos LGA.
H1: There is a significant impact of herdsmen and farmer’s conflict on the attainment of Christian religious objective in bokkos LGA.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The increasing number of reports of violence at this occupational boundary makes understanding herders-farmers conflict an urgent task. We need to know not just why friction begins, but also why and how, as some conflicts unfold they articulate with religious, ethnic, and political conditions (Morizt, 2010).
This study will serve as a positive document in helping stakeholders in conflict management and resolution.
It will help the Nigerian society generally to avoid actions and propaganda that are likely to generate ethno-religious conflicts which affect the socio-economic and political co-existence of Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research investigates the effect of the conflict on the attainment of Christian religious objective in Bokko LG.A. The study covers the entire herders, farmers and the Christian community in Bokko Local Government Area.
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