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Author: Muhammad Sadiq Ali-jos



1.1 Background to the Study

Cattle rustling have recently become a major internal security concern in Nigeria, with the country’s northern region as the epicenter. Reports of bandits with automatic weapons storming herders’ settlements and farms with the mission of killing people and pillaging cows proliferate (Yusuf, 2015). According to Adeniyi (2015) between October 2013 and March 2014 approximately 7,000 cattle were rustled from commercial livestock farms and traditional herders in Northern Nigeria. Tauna (2016) posit that 30,000 cattle were recovered from rustlers within a few months of setting up a joint military operation against the menace in Katsina State. In most cases, the rustlers kill and maim their herders and rape the women before dispossessing them for their cows in some instances, they also kidnap girls or women in the process (Adeniyi, 2015).

Over the years, cattle rustling have evolved into a pattern of organized crime with immense criminal sophistication and efficiency. Contemporary cattle rustlers operate with modern weaponry and their operations are marked by trans-locational and trans-national syndication. The basic understanding regarding contemporary cattle rustling is that it is a form of livelihood crime, motivated by both the criminal intent to expropriate grazing cattle for meat or for sale (Manyok, 2017). As a corollary, cattle rustling have also been largely motivated by the quest for primitive accumulation of capital and untaxed wealth. In this sense, cattle rustling passes for a typical instance of organized crime. An organized crime is a criminal enterprise involving discernible hierarchical social networking and syndication (Cheserek, 2017)

Virtually all of the states in the Northern region of Nigeria are affected by cattle rustling. In Plateau State, cattle-rustling activities are prevalent in eight (Mangu, Bokkos, Barkin Ladi, Shendam, Jos South, Riyom, Langtang North, and Langtang South) out of the 17 local government areas (Yusufu, 2014). Ishaya, and Abaje, (2015) reported that several villages in the areas lying between the four Northern States of Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, and Niger have been under siege from cattle rustlers who freely unleash terror on helpless herders and cow farmers. Although cattle rustling have been rampant in the rural areas of Northern Nigeria, it not only poses serious security challenges at the specific sites of conflict but also threatens to engulf places outside of the rural sector and Northern Nigeria.
In Kaduna State and in Giwa Local Government Area in particular, rustling has been going on since around 2004 when it started mildly. It continued growing till the climax of the whole thing in November 2004 when the rustlers decided to attack a town called Dogon Dawa and killed over 20 people (Yusufu, 2014). These rustlers are a mixture of ethnicities including Fulani, rustlers continue to threaten human security, socio-economic and political development in the rural communities throughout Giwa Local Government Area and some part of Kaduna State and Northern Nigeria (Ishaya and Abaje, 2015).

Rustling activities have been a veritable threat to public safety and security in Nigeria. It has led to loss of lives, human injury, population displacements, as well as loss of cattle in their numbers. This situation goes with repercussions that do not portend well for the collective wellbeing of the herding communities. It creates a sense of insecurity which has the capacity to hamper the productivity of the herding enterprise. The loss of cattle to rustlers means depletion of household income and communal resource of the herding community. The implications of this for sustainable productivity of the herding venture are easy to decipher. This could ultimately leads to drop in the aggregate supply of organic protein and dairy in Nigeria. What is more critical and dicey is the correlation between cattle rustling and spiral violence in some parts of Northern Nigeria. The incessant attacks by cattle rustlers on herding communities tend to set them at loggerheads with their ecological neighbours – the settled native farmers. In some instances, the farmers are arbitrarily accused by the herders as the culprit and masterminds of their cattle raids. The strategic implication of this development is that it has the capacity of raising the instrumental value and utility of cattle rustling to a level where its solution would be as problematic as terrorism itself. The logic is that if cattle rustling earnestly becomes an instrumentality for terrorist design, it will surely thrive so long as terrorism prevails (Bashir, 2017).

The literature on cattle rustling and the violent conflict linked to it has consistently been growing in other parts of Africa (Kaimba, 2011; Nganga 2012, Greiner 2013). In Nigeria, however, apart from studies focusing on clashes between herders and farming communities (Okoli and Atelhe 2014; Olaniyan and Okeke-Uzodike 2015), predatory cattle rustling has yet to receive adequate scholarly attention. The few attempts to address this issue, commendable as they are, suffer either from being essentially descriptive in nature (Kwaja 2014) or because their insights and implications derive principally from the East African experience (Okoli and Okpaleke 2014). Nevertheless, as is the case elsewhere, the contemporary spate of violence and the destructive aftermath linked to cattle rustling begs for attention. The present study seeks to understand the contours, trends, and trajectory of cattle rustling in Giwa Local Government Area, it effects on socio-economic and political development and how the state has responded to the threat it poses.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

The rising wave of violence of terrorism, insurgency, cattle rustling, kidnappings, arm robbery, and ethnic crisis among others constitute a devastating threat to the security of lives and property of the citizenry. The high level of cattle rustling in Northern Nigeria by rustlers has heightened fears among the populace and the international community and has eaten deep into the economy and as a matter of fact, the hostility has gone beyond religious or political coloration. Cattle rustling has emerged as a major security challenge in Nigeria. As a criminal enterprise it has consequences for the socio-economic, political, cultural, and psychological spheres of society. At the economic level, it constitutes a major threat to the livelihood of herders and those who depend on cows for survival. At the socio-political level, rustlers’ activities have resulted in death, loss, and the destruction of lives and property, thereby disturbing peace and security.

Cattle rustling have been a veritable threat of public safety and security threat in Giwa Local Government Area. It has led to loss of lives, population displacement as well as loss of cattles in their numbers. It creates a sense of insecurity and loss of cattle to rustlers, this act apparently degenerate into a terror-brand mass raids where innocent villagers including women and children are victimised. Cattle rustling have seriously and negatively affected the socio-economic and political development of Giwa Local Government Area. This has negative effects on Kaduna State’s security, stability and integration.

1.3 Research Questions

In view of the statements of the research problem, the study put forward the following questions:

1. What are the causes of cattle rustling in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State between 2015-2017?

2. What is the impact of cattle rustling on the socio-economic and political development of Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State between 2015-2017?

3. What are the efforts made by the government and community to tackle the problem of cattle rustling in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State between 2015-2017?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are:

1. To identify the causes of cattle rustling in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State between 2015-2017.

2. To examine the impact of Cattle rustling on socio-economic and political development of Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State between 2015-2017.

3. To identify the efforts made by the government and community to tackle the problem of cattle rustling in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State between 2015-2017.

1.5 Assumptions of the Study

1. Poverty and unemployment led to cattle rustling in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State between 2015-2017.

2. Cattle rustling contribute to the insecurity Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State between 2015-2017.

3. Cattle rustling affect the socio-economic and political development of Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State between 2015-2017.

1.6 Significance of the Study

Available literature have not been able to specifically address the root causes of cattle rustling in Nigeria with a view to address the bud in the interest of Northern Nigeria and the country at large. Cattle rustling have become a major source of concern, due not only to its implications on the size of the herd and the suffering it generates, but also to the threat it poses to the very survival of state institutions in the places where it occurs. While still primarily a rural-sector activity, where the capacity of state institutions to effectively mediate competing demands are threatened, relatively weak, or non-existent, the interjection of modern destructive weapons and extreme violence accompanying cattle rustling signify its transition from mere cattle raiding into a ruthless, weaponised, highly organised, profit-oriented, trans-locational and transnational consortium.

Therefore, this study would enlighten the government and the general public on the extent of damage done by the activities of cattle rustlers, and its effect on the security and socio-economic development. The findings of this study augment the already existing literature on cattle rustling and crime management. It expose the predicament of the citizen in the hands of cattle rustlers and this could be important to policy makers especially those entangled with the security and social wellbeing of the citizens in a given political sphere. Bearing in mind that it is the responsibility of the state to collect taxes from the citizens, hire and own instruments of violence and utilize them to protect its people.

The result of this study would serve as a point of reference to teachers, students and researchers on security, economy, conflict and political science in Nigeria and they may find the work benefiting to them as it furnishes them with current information on the subject matter. The study would be useful to security personnel and policy makers on issues that affect the security and economy of the state in agriculture and other sectors. Recommendation provided by this study would serve as a means towards the development of a strategic action plan that may be a significant force, curbing the menace of cattle rustling in Kaduna State and Nigeria as a whole.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The scope of this study is to examine the effect of cattle rustling on socio-economic and political development of Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State within the period of three years (2015-2017) due to occurrence and reoccurrence of cattle rustling within this period. Hence, the findings are not be generalized to other districts in the region, the study intends to shed more light to the topic of cattle rustling in Kaduna State and Nigeria as a whole and how it affects the security, socio-economic and political development of the country.
The greatest constraint is the problem of collecting necessary and important data because of security issues. Some security personnel may refuse to cooperate and provide all the necessary information either because the topic is related to security issue or the informants to consult may either transfer from the state or leave the state for fear or attack therefore collection of data from such informant may be difficult.

1.8 Methodology

The study adopts a survey research design. This type of design is appropriate for gathering information, summarizing, presenting and interpreting data for purpose of clarification. The method is appropriate for the study since it assists the researcher to produce statistical information on the topic of study.

1.8.1 Population of the Study

Best (2010) define population as the total number of people that are important or relevant to a particular study or survey. Giwa Local Government Area has a total population of 252,363 made up of 73,727 men and 66,688 women respectively (National Population Commission of Nigeria, 2006).

1.8.2 Sampling Techniques and sample size

A sample is a subset of the population. The size of a sample should be large enough to reflect important features of the population. Sampling techniques constitute the hallmark of survey research. While survey research involves eliciting data from a target population through questionnaire or interview instruments, and subjecting such data to statistical analysis with a view to drawing conclusions. Sampling techniques are components of survey research which has to do with the methods of delivering data from a target population. Thus, the sample size for this study is one hundred and fifty (150) respondents from Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State, which will make up of farmers, herders, political leaders and so on.

1.8.3 Method of Data Collection

The method of data collection includes both primary and secondary. The secondary sources are both published and unpublished articles, journals and publications from renowned organizations and international bodies on the topic under study. In the case of primary data, questionnaires will be used to elicit the required data from community members in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

1.8.4 Method of Data Analysis

The analysis will be carried out through the use of statistical tools like frequency table and simple percentage which will enable the researcher to reduce the responses to figures for better understanding and analysis. The data collected from the field will be analysed using frequencies, percentages and tables which is more resourceful and convenient to the researcher. The percentages and frequencies will be used to determine the degree of response from the respondent and the table to be followed by analysis and interpretation as doing so would greatly enhance the readers’ understanding of the topic under discussion.

1.9 Organization of Chapters

The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one includes background of the study, statement of the research problem, research question, objectives of the study, assumptions of the study, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, methodology, organization of the study and definition of concepts. Chapter two is the literature review and theoretical framework. Chapter three is the historical background of the study which is Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna Sate. Chapter four is data presentation and analysis. Chapter five focuses on summary, conclusions and recommendations.

1.10 Definition of Concepts

1.10.1 Cattle Rustling

Cattle rustling is the act of stealing cattle. Cattle theft is dubbed rustling, while an individual who engages in it is a rustler. Cattle rustling refer to a violent activity by pastoral communities stealing livestock from each other (Bashir, 2017). A cattle rustling is the act of forceful raiding of livestock from one community by another using guns and leaving behind destruction of property and loss of lives. The term is of the historical United States colloquial etymology in which context pioneer farmers lost cattle while grazing on huge ranges that were difficult to patrol for policing. Traditionally, cattle rustling have been driven by the criminal intent to expropriate cow for meat or for sale. Pertinently, it must have served as a means of primitive accumulation of cow-herd in the contexts of subsistence and commercial pastoralism (Manyok, 2017).

Okoli and Okpaleke (2014) opined that conceptually, the term “cattle rustling” appears to have evolved into a more or less standardized specialist nomenclature. Hence, the concept is almost universally applied to designate the act of stealing cattle from grazing herd notwithstanding the motivation or contextual specifics. Some recent studies have however used the notion of “cattle road” to denote the same reality. Okoli and Akeihe (2014) are of the view that cattle rustling refer to the stealing of grazing cattle or lock of cattle while grazing on huge ranges. Cattle rustling is a global phenomenon which has manifested in various scales and dimension in the country, cattle rustling has been widespread particularly in the northern part of the country where cattle raring is a dominant agricultural practice. Recent developments tend to have implicated cattle rustling in the rising wave of violence in Northern Nigeria.

Akowe and Kayode (2014) observe that cattle rustlers are usually migrants which are no settling in a permanent settlement, more often than not, they move from one place to another in search of greener pastures. These rustlers normally move from north to south and from south to north depending on the season. Around November, December, and February the Fulani’s herdsmen will start moving southward in search for green pastures and water for their herds. This period’s Fulani herdsmen movement equal with the season of harvest in the northern part of Nigeria.

1.10.2 Security

Greiner (2013) observe that security relates to the presence of peace, safety, happiness and the protection of human and physical resources or the absence of crisis. While to Akin (2008), security as any laid down procedures towards the protection of persons and property against hostile persons. He further opined and observed that security is a situation where by a conducive atmosphere is created within which people in the state can go about their normal daily activities without threat to either their lives or properties. Thus, security encompasses all approach toward safeguarding human as well as material resources in the state against all forms of aggression or violent conduct. According to Kwaja (2014), security is a state of being safe and the absence of fear, anxiety, danger, poverty and oppression. It is the preservation of core values and the absence of threats to these values.

1.10.3 Farmer

A farmer is also called an agriculturalist, he engages in agriculture and also raising livestock for food and raw materials. The term is usually applied to people who do some combination of raising field crops, poultry and livestock. In this study, the term farmer is referred to a settler because farmers unlike the herdsmen have immovable assets (land) and therefore settle in one place to engage in farming (Cheserek, 2007).


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Akowe, T. and Kayode B. (2014). Cattle Rustling: A Northern Nightmare, in: The Nation, 30 March, online: <http://thenation

Bashir H. M. (2017). The Impact Of Cattle Rustling And Banditry On Livelihoods Of Pastoral Communities In Katsina State, Nigeria: Being A Dissertation Presented To The Department Of History And War Studies, Faculty Of Arts And Social
Sciences, Post Graduate School, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, In Partial Fulfillment Of The Requirements For The Award Of Master In Conflict, Security And Development (Mcsd)

Cheserek G.J. (2017). Resource use conflicts between pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Kenya. A Case study of Pokot and Marakwet. Unpublished PhD thesis, Moi University, Eldoret.

Greiner, C. (2013). Guns, Land, and Votes: Cattle Rustling and the Politics of Boundary (Re) Making in Northern Kenya, in: African Affairs, 112, 447, 216–237.

Ishaya, S. and I.B. Abaje, (2015). Indigenous People’s Perception on Climate Change and Adaptation Strategies in Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria. Journal of Geography and Regional Planning, 1(8): 138-143.

Kwaja, C. (2014). Blood, Cattle, and Cash: Cattle Rustling and Nigeria’s Bourgeoning Underground Economy, in: West African Insight, 4, 3, 1–6.

Lombard, W. A., and van Rooyen, F. M. (2017). Stock theft trends and the role of unmarked livestock. Stockfarm, 7(4), 8-9.

Manyok, P. T. (2017). Cattle Rustling and Its Effects among Three Communities (Dinka, Murle and Nuer) in Jonglei State, South Sudan (Doctoral dissertation, Nova Southeastern University).

Ofuoku, Albert, and Benjamin Isifie (2009). Causes, Effects and Resolution of Farmers-Nomadic Cattle Herders Conflict in Delta State, Nigeria, in: International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, 11, 2, 47–54.
Okoli, Al-Chukwuma, and Atelhe George Atelhe (2014). Nomads against Natives: A Political Ecology of Herder/Farmer Conflicts in Nasarawa State, Nigeria, in: American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 4, 2, 76–88.

Okoli, A.C and Okpaleke, F. (2014). Banditry and Crisis of public safety in Nigeria: Issues in national security strategies. European Scientific Journal, 10(4), pp.350-362.

Tauna, A. (2016). We Have Tamed Cattle Rustling, We Will Tame Kidnapping – Northern Governors, in: Daily Post, 30 January, online: /2016/01/30/we-have-tamed-cattle-rustling-wewill-tackle-kidnapping-northern-governors

Yusufu, A. (2014). Plateau: From Ethnic Crises to Cattle Rustling, in: The Nation, 30 March, online: <

Yusuf, V. (2015). Deadly Persistence of Cattle Rustling, in: Daily Trust, 16 May, online: atures/20488-deadly-persistence-of-cattle-rustling


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