For a few years, there has been a raging battle between Fulani herdsmen and farmers of Nigeria’s middle states of Benue, Jos and Taraba. This conflict if left to mutate can discourage tourists from visiting the different amazing destinations situated in this region. Jovago.com, Africa’s No 1 hotel booking portal shares 3 possible tips on how to resolve this conflict.
Fulani herdsmen are popular for being cattle rearers which make it essential for them to navigate their prized cows, from one location to another in search for food and water. As a result of this regular search, it may lead to the invasion of other people’s farms by the herdsmen.
Benue State is regarded as the food basket of the nation. It is an agrarian state because of the fertile soil and this makes agriculture very important for their livelihood and survival, and has inevitably attracted Fulani herdsmen to Benue and other Middle belt states. So, the farmers rue the wanton ravaging of their lands as it destroys their source of livelihood. The end, it becomes a battle for survival.
So how can this be checked?
According to research finding a sandy desert occupies about 35 to 40 percent of the land mass of frontline Nigerian States of Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi. Over the years, the desert has consumed different parts of the region due to deforestation and pastoralism. This has encouraged many Fulani herdsmen to move from their base in these states, southwards. The middle belt and other parts of Nigeria are bearing the brunt. To forestall this continued migration, the government needs to encourage reforestation and irrigational farming.
Bridge the Indigenes – Settler differences
When the Fulanis find themselves in the farmer’s territory despite spending decades in the middle belt region, they are still regarded as settlers by the indigenes. This differences should be bridged through regular meetings, social gatherings, festivals and sporting events.
This is a key factor the government, herdsmen and farmers have to agree on. A large expanse of land set aside solely for grazing should be declared as ranching zone. This should be established across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. It will go a long way in reducing the tension between the farmers and the herdsmen.