Farmer-Herder Conflict in Northern Nigeria: Trends, Dynamics and Gender Perspectives

The farmer-herder conflict has become persistent and pervasive with debilitating consequences on human lives and their sources of livelihoods. Although scholars, policymakers and development workers have given attention to the conflict, the trends and dynamics of the conflict, as well as the direct and indirect actors in the conflicts, are constantly changing. The constantly changing nature of the conflict makes efforts at resolving it by both state and non-state actors difficult.

This research explored the current conflict dynamics, the various actors, causes and triggers, its gender dimensions, as well as the effectiveness of conflict mitigation mechanisms used to date. The study adopted a qualitative data collection process using focus group discussions (FGDs) and key informant interviews (KIIs). Four states – Benue, Kaduna, Katsina and Nasarawa – that are among those adversely affected by the conflict were selected as case studies. Eight Local Government Areas – Guma and Logo (Benue State), Kajuru and Kaura (Kaduna State), Batsari and Jibia (Katsina
State), Awe and Doma (Nasarawa State) – were chosen as the study locations. In all, 48 FGD sessions and 46 KII interviews were conducted with men, women, youth, farmers and herders, traditional rulers, religious leaders and government officials to generate the data, and content analysis
was applied to discuss the key findings from the study.

The findings of the research revealed that there are increasing occurrences of farmer-herder conflicts in virtually all the states. In two of the states, Kaduna and Katsina, the conflict has metamorphosed into other forms of generalized criminalities such as armed banditry involving cattle rustling and cattle theft and kidnapping for ransom.

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