This study the effect of anti-grazing law sentiment on national integration in Nigeria. The incessant conflict between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria has become very unbecoming and worrisome to nation unity and integration. This has given rise to the enact Anti-grazing law in various State. The objective of the study is to examine the effect of anti-grazing laws sentiment on national integration in Nigeria. The study adopted the elite theory as the anchor theory for the study, Qualitative and quantitative approach which focuses on the explanation of subjective perspectives, processes, and numeric information was employed for the study. Primary and secondary data sources were used to generate data for the study. The method of data analysis adopted for the study was simple percentage and Chi-square statistics which was done with the aid of SPSS statistical software. At the completion of the study, it was recommend that There should be effective regulation of grazing and farming activities in Nigeria through efficient land-use laws/ legislations and administration.
Keywords: anti-grazing, national integration, Fulani herdsmen, farmers, crisis, laws
1.1 Background of the study
Nigeria a federation of many different nations is the most populous country in Africa with about 160 million people. The country is divided into 36 states and 748 local government areas. The religious, ethnic, and cultural diversities of the federating units no doubt make it a unique one. Otite (1990) in Mustapha (2007), identifies 374 ethnicities which are broadly divided into ethnic ‘majorities’ and ethnic ‘minorities’. The majority ethnic groups are the Hausa-Fulani of the north, the Yoruba of the southwest, and the Igbos of the southeast. However, the relationship between these groups is characterized by fear and suspicion of domination of one state or ethnic group by another. Meanwhile, this suspicion and fear between groups is historical. However, it became pronounced when Sir Fredrick Lord Lugard began the process of subjecting ethnic groups with a history of mutual distrust and hatred together as one Nigeria. Remarkably, these ethnic groups are not of equal population and hence some tend to dominate others thus exploiting them. Also, political and economic imbalances exist among these various states or ethnic groups that make up Nigeria. These imbalances arose from the nature and character of the post colonial Nigerian state. In almost all the sectors, state, ethnic or regions, people feel marginalized. The form and intensity of natural resource or environmental conflicts vary widely by place and over time within any location and different communities with their members respond to conflict differently (FAO, 2003). Thus, this suggests that every community possesses certain mechanisms and strategies of resolving or managing natural resource conflicts since this conflict are already a part of their daily life. However, depending on many factors, response to environmental conflicts may be violent or peaceful, formal or informal, participatory or restrictive, equitable or not. Some of the widely adopted measures towards addressing this conflict before and after they escalate are dialogue, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, adjudication and expulsion. For instance, Fasona et al. (2006) avers that in Sepeteri and Ikoyi-Ile communities of Oyo state, agro-pasturalist conflicts which can be traced to the colonial era have often been resolved through dialogue as narrated by the community leader (Fasona et al, 2016). Contrary to this, after series of violence unleashed on Ekiti state in South Western Nigeria, the state government under the leadership of Governor Ayodele Fayose embarked on the restriction of grazing activities in Ekiti state with the passage of anti-grazing bill into law. The anti-grazing law which titled “Prohibition of Cattle and Other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti, 2016,” bans grazing after 6pm in the evening and before 7am in the morning were passed into law in Ekiti State and it also says that any herdsman caught with firearms and any weapons whatsoever during grazing shall be charged with terrorism (Oladimeji, 2016). In the same vain A bill entitled ‘‘A Bill for an Act to provide for the Establishment, Preservation and Control of National Grazing Reserves and Livestock Routes and the Creation of National Grazing Reserve Commission and for purposes connected therewith’’ sponsored by Mrs. Zainab Kure a first time senator representing Niger South senatorial district was presented to the Nigerian Senate. A similar bill was also presented to the house of representative in which the sponsors and other backers of bill – legislators from northern Nigeria are seeking that power be granted to a federal commission to acquire lands from all the state governments in Nigeria and the Minster of the Federal Capital Territory to establish grazing routes and reserves for Fulani herders (Okeke, 2014). The central argument in favour of the bill is the need to have access to sufficient pasture for cattle which are not readily available in the required quantity in the home state of these herdsmen as a result of environmental degradation, acute drought, overgrazing among other. According to these proponents, this bill will help to prevent the conflict that usually occurs as a result of the southward movement or migration of herdsmen and their herds in search for pastures and water. On the other hand, the opponents of these bills opined that rather than the claim of the proponent, the actual hidden agenda of the sponsor and other northerners in favour of the bill is to formalize and advance the expansionist agenda of Uthman Dan Fodio and the Northern hegemonic quest to dominate the politico-economic sphere of the Nigerian state. Similarly, the adoption of the grazing bill will lead to the furtherance of agro-pastoralist conflict in Nigeria because the migration of the herdsmen to other parts of Nigeria coupled with their refusal to keep to the rules of the host communities, intolerance and preference for the use of violence rather than conflict is one of the major reasons for the many bloodshed from environmental conflict all over Nigeria. Therefore, if allowed to legally have access to lands in all states of the federation for grazing, there is speculation that the Fulani herders will further expand into the farms and home of the host community which could even lead to more bloody conflict. Both the federal and state governments have developed a variety of responses to the ongoing violence between farmers and herders in the Middle Belt, including the recent law passed by the state government in Benue. In May 2017, the Benue State Government enacted the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017 (commonly referred to as the Open Grazing Prohibition Law) banning open grazing of livestock in the state of Benue. The Benue State Government presented the Open Grazing Prohibition Law as a tool to prevent clashes between herders and farmers by limiting the unrestricted grazing of cattle and instead called for cattle to be reared in ranches. This legislation is the first of its kind in Nigeria and implementation began on 1st November 2017. Since the implementation of the law began, there have been a number of repercussions, including several attacks, such as the New Year’s Day attack in Benue where unidentified gunmen killed dozens of people, to growing interest in nearby states of Plateau and Taraba to enact similar legislation as a response to conflicts between farmers and herders. Several civil society groups in Plateau State have called for the Plateau State Government to replicate the Benue State model. In Taraba State, the Governor has already signed the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Bill, 2017 into law, which took effect on 24th January, 2018. It is against this backdrop that this study intend to examine the effect of anti-grazing law sentiment on national integration.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is vain denying the fact that livestock and cattle contribute to the GDP of Nigeria. In most parts of Nigeria, especially in the southern parts, keeping of ruminants, though still part of a man’s wealth; is mainly for subsistent living. In such cases, the ruminants are relatively small in number and are either left to roam the family house or are taken out to the field every morning for sedentary grazing and brought back every evening in a manner that prevents them from straying into cultivated farm lands. Where, for inexplicable reasons, the animals stray into and damages peoples’ belongings, such damages, either to crops or to other properties, are adequately compensated by the owner. In the northern part of Nigeria, especially among the Fulani ethnic group, the story is different. Rather than sedentary pastoralism, nomadic or transhumant pastoralism is the culture. Living their life almost entirely on ruminant animal farming, cattle is noted to be the most important object in Fulani society. The quantity of cattle a Fulani man owns is a sign of his wealth. Saidu, a Fulani pastoralist said, “Our herd is our life because to every nomad, life is worthless without his cattle .Ogbo Et al (2017). A typical Fulani man lives his life around his cattle. Traditionally, these cattle are herded by taking them round in large numbers to feed in open spaces and uncultivated grass lands in a migratory or nomadic style. This traditional system of feeding animals is known as grazing. The nomadic Fulani group basically spends most of their lives in the bush and are the ones largely involved in clashes between herders and the local farmers. Idowu (2017). A Fulani herdsman sets out to graze his cattle by looking for pastures, doing so, most times with his wife and children, who assists him in tending to the cattle and rendering other sundry services as they move around in search of greener pastures. Experts have said that owing to increasing desertification, developmental encroachment and diminishing range lands (grazing resource), this type of transhumant pastoralism is generating a lot of problems to society. As can be observed, food supply insecurity, environmental degradation, stunted economic growth and distorted national integration are some of the problems the country is today contending with. These problems stem both from the skirmishes that occur between herders and farmers as pasturing animals intrude on farmlands and watering points for free pasture, as farmers encroach on cattle routes for more cultivable land. As this happens, Saidu, a local Fulani cattle farmer said, ‘what do you expect from us when our source of existence is threatened? The encroachment on grazing fields and routes by farmers is a call for war. Wherever we turn, we find the land reserved for our cattle to feast, taken over by farmers. It becomes difficult for our herd to move and graze without veering into crop fields. Once that happens, the farmers confront us and we have no option but to fight back’ .Odoh Et al (2012). As Haman, cited in Imo noted, cattle farmers suffer material damages when the crop farmers inflict physical injuries on their cattle by using cutlasses, spears or guns or by poisoning the cattle. Crop farmers, on the other hand, cry and argue that the fear of gun wielding cattle herders not only prevent them from going to the farm but that cultivated farm lands and crop yields are destroyed by cattle, resulting in sweeping poverty and unemployment in the land. As precious human and animal lives are lost and crop yields damaged, food security is not only being hampered but precious manpower to support economic growth is reduced. Again as the animals are taken round through the open grazing system, they do not only pollute a few available water sources to the local people but also (through their destructive activities) bring their breeders and the settled farming communities into conflicts that heighten inter-ethnic tensions in the country. As all these happen, analysts are of the view that there is ominous danger to national integration and overall sustainability especially as these happenings are perceived by people in the south and north central regions of the country as signs of failure, imperialism and favoritism by the President, Muhammad Buhari to his tribesmen, the Fulani, over other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. It is on this premise that the researcher intend to examine the effect of anti-grazing law sentiment on national integration in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
This study has two objective; the broad and the specific objectives; the broad objective is to examine the effect of anti-grazing law sentiment on national integration in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:
- i) To examine the effect of anti-grazing laws on farmers headers crisis in Nigeria;
- ii) To ascertain if there is any significant relationship between anti-grazing law sentiment and national integration in Nigeria.
iii) To examine the role of government in ensuring peaceful co-existence between the farmers and the nomadic headers in Nigeria
- iv) To examine the impact of anti-grazing law in fostering national unity
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;
- i) Is there any effect of anti-grazing laws sentiment on farmer’s headers crisis in Nigeria?
- ii) Is there any significant relationship between anti-grazing law sentiment and national integration in Nigeria?
iii) Does the government play any role in ensuring peaceful co-existence between the farmers and the nomadic headers in Nigeria?
- iv) What impact does anti-grazing law sentiment has in fostering national integration in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher in null and alternate form to aid the completion of the study;
H0: represent null hypotheses
H1: represent alternate hypotheses
H0: there is no significant relationship between anti-grazing law sentiment and national integration in Nigeria
H1: there is a significant relationship between anti-grazing law sentiment and national integration in Nigeria
H0: anti-grazing laws sentiment does not have any effect on farmer’s headers crisis in Nigeria
H2: anti-grazing laws sentiment does have an effect on farmer’s headers crisis in Nigeria
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of this study, the findings will be of significance to policy makers in ensuring effective policy formulation and implementation that will repair the already precarious relationship between farmers and nomadic headers in Nigeria, the study will also be of importance to both the state and federal government as the recommendations of this study will foster dialog between headers and farmers association if implemented to foster national integration and peaceful co-existence in Nigeria. The study will also be of important to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to further studies. Finally the study will be of importance to students, teachers, academia’s and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature and also contribute to knowledge on the subject matter.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the effect of anti-grazing law sentiment on national integration in Nigeria. In the course of the study, extensive relevant literature were reviewed and instances of headers farmers crisis were examine. But in the course of the study, there were some factors that limit the scope of the study;
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
- a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Grazing is a method of feeding in which a herbivore feeds on plants such as grasses, or other multicellular organisms such as algae. In agriculture, grazing is one method used whereby domestic livestock are used to convert grass and other forage into meat, milk and other products.
The National Integration Council is a group of senior politicians and public figures in India that looks for ways to address the problems of communalism, casteism and regionalism
this is the Prohibition of Cattle and other Ruminants Grazing in states , the law states in part, that “no person shall cause or permit any cattle or other ruminants belonging to him or under his control to graze on any land in which the Governor has not designated as ranch.
1.9 STRUCTURE OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study