Monday 29 July 2019


There are many dimensions of the farmer-herder conflict in Nigeria which the Forum on Farmer-Herder Relations (FFARN) has dissected viz; Analysis of the conflict, Security responses to farmer-herder conflict in the Middle Belt of Nigeria, Conflict mapping of the crisis, The nexus between criminality and the crisis, The implications of the Open Grazing Prohibition & Ranches Establishment Law in Farmer-Herder Relations in the Middle-Belt of Nigeria, Responses to conflict between farmers & herders in the Middle Belt of Nigeria: Mapping past effort & opportunities for violence prevention, etc. I am a valued member of FFARN. FFARN is convened under the auspices of Search for Common Ground (SFCG).

The latest analysis, 'The socio-ecological analysis of the farmer-herder crisis in Nigeria' was undertaken at a three-day intensive workshop in Abuja between the 23rd and 25th of July, 2019. The conflict analysis map of the farmer-herder crisis, produced at an earlier workshop by FFARN was the take off point. It was noted at the outset that the ecology is germane in the analysis of the farmer-herder conflict because it is basically a conflict over scarce resources - land and water.

     Photo L-R: Sher Lawaz (Country Director, SFCG & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa @ the workshop

One of the facilitators said: 'When issues occur more than twice between people, you need to look beyond the issues and focus on the relationship'. Remember: Such a relationship includes the environment, context of the conflict. The dynamics of protracted socio-ecological conflict like the farmer-herder one, entails the following:

*Context (Constitution, background to the crisis)
*Needs (Acceptance, assets, security)
*Capacity (Relationship with the international economy, governance & the state, democratic control of the armed forces - DCAF)
*Actors (State, communal, groups)
*Conflict (Nature of the conflict)

We need to frame 'conflict prevention' (CP) better. To be sure, we can actually prevent conflict at every stage - before, during and after. It is best to prevent conflict before it occurs. But if this is not done before the crisis degenerates into violence CP at this stage could de-escalate the conflict. Even after the conflict (the cycle of conflict), all the actors and stakeholders should always say: never agaain. The dividend of CP is development. African countries are losing too much to conflict due to toxic narratives. We need to keep tracking the cost of war in cash and kind for us to value peace more.

In ecological analysis we ask difficult questions like: How can we help both farmers and herders to reach common ground and return to the good old days when they had a symbiotic relationship?
We need to imbibe a CP mentality. Impunity needs to be curbed. Conflict entrepreneurs should be cut to size. We need to put on our preventive lens in all we do. Toxic discourse is inimical to progress. It could lead to the loss of more lives. Advocacy and engagement are the key tools for CP.

What then are the current gaps in CP?

*Limited indigenous and technical capacity.
*Monitoring and evaluation of the cost of conflict
*National Peace architecture still difficult in spite of international treaties
*Undue external influence
*Lack of sufficient investment in conflict prevention and by extension, CP
*Lack of local ownership of peace processes.
*Inability to cope with emerging threats to peace
*Good governance is still a challenge (Participatory, respect for the rule of law, efficiency & effectiveness, accountability, transparency in all transactions, dearth of evidence-based advocacy, etc)

Tied to good governance is the concept of human security (HS). HS entails the following:
*Protection of both genders
*People-centred security
*Africa can learn CP from the rest of the wo
*HS should complement state security
*There should be evidence-based advocacy

Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa with the 'Conflict mapping map' developed by FFARN in the background

HS involves many types of security:

UNSCR   66/290 discusses the concept of HS. The context of issues like the farmer-herder crises is bombarded.

L-R: Bukola Ademola-Adelehin (Team Lead FFARN & Snr. Programme/Policy Analyst, SFCG) & Dayo

This brings us to the concept of development assistance. The Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in Nigeria destroyed the economy. There are many aspects of the context viz,criminal, perception and cultural. Beyond Nigeria, there are regional dimensions of the farmer-herder conflict.
The ECOWAS Protocol on free movement of persons could be inimical to the concept of secure borders. Secure borders are necessary to prevent the smuggling of rustled cattle across boarders.

The socio-ecological analysis of the farmer-herder crisis is indeed a complex undertaking which involves the economy, politics, environment, etc. New issues keep popping up!

Related Links

*Climate emergency declarations in 850 jurisdictions & LGAs cover 160m citizens   https://climate-emergency-declarations-cover-15-million-citizens/
*Malian Colonel honoured by National Defense University for research on farmer-herder violence
*How deadly disease outbreak could worsen as the climate changes
*2 feared dead as herdsmen, Sunday Igboho's supporters clash in Oyo state
*Dialogue with Pastoralists
*Is an insurgency slowly gathering momentum in SE Nigeria?
*Nigeria's Buhari overhauls Military as security crisis worsens
*Sahel's counter-terrorism takes toll on civilians
*Chad:6 things to know about the rebel group, FACT
*UN suspends operations in Borno, Nigeria after series of attacks
*Why Chad's rebellion and Deby's demise could tip the region into chaos
*Peace deals with insurgent groups in Nigeria?
*Nigeria: Bandits' circle
*Insecurity in Nigeria as @ 17th May 2021: 108 killed, 44 kidnappedin attacks across Nigeria in one week
*Merchants of terror: he counter-terrorism economy in Africa
*Meet Aisha, her spirit remains unbroken regardless of gruesome past and experience living in Sambisa forest with members of the BH terrorist group
*Mas shootings & the failure of empathy




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