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CATTLE RANCHING AS A PANACEA TO HERDSMEN CRISES IN NIGERIA

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CATTLE RANCHING AS A PANACEA TO HERDSMEN CRISES IN NIGERIA

Background to the study

In the last few days there has been fierce debate as the Federal Government, which earlier promoted the idea of cattle ranch, opted for ‘cattle colonies’ leaving many people to ask what cattle colony is.  The introduction of cattle colonies came following the recent harvest of deaths in rural communities across Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States blamed on suspected herdsmen. Furthermore, Colonies and ranches are the same thing in many ways except that a colony is bigger that a ranch; a colony is a biological expression for any species of animals whether by nature or by human design that are found in a large community sharing the same terrain, such as bee colonies in certain areas.

Establishment of ranches and the movement of beef instead of cattle have been identified by stakeholders as ways to end the incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the country. Over the years there have been uncountable clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Benue state, and other part of the country which have resulted to loss of lives and properties with several others being displaced from their homes. The clashes are fast becoming unbecoming, and a major scourge confronting the nation which is begging for urgent intervention of the Federal Government. No less than ten reported cases have occurred since the beginning of the year and government has not come out with a concrete plan to contain the scourge.

According to a publication of the daily independent on March 9, 2018 said the activities of these herdsmen if not checked could result to war which at this time will not be good enough for the country. They, therefore, called for the establishment of ranches so as to allow the herdsmen feed their cattle in a concentrated area, instead of moving them around and destroying peoples’ farms.

According to Mr Emmanuel Ijewere, Coordinator of Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), explained that government should convince the herdsmen that animals loose more weight when they walk around and they gain more weight if they are in one place. He said they should also be convinced that those clashes are not in their own best interest and those farmers will continue to resist and fight back. Ijewere particularly advised government to provide properly designated grazing areas that must have water, stressing that government must adopt a policy of moving beef and not cattle. “Government must adopt a policy of let start moving beef and not cattle. That policy means that abattoirs in central places like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Benin City all those central places will no longer exist.

“We will slaughter the cattle nearer where they are reared; it will reduce all these clashes. It can be done, you can move more beef than you move cattle, if it is done in more structured manner. That is what developed countries of the world do,” he said, adding that “we are not the only ones that eat meat in the world, but other countries of the world don’t move cattle the way we do. They move these cattle recklessly, those are some of the reasons you have these clashes.”

Similarly, Anga Sotonye, National Publicity Secretary of the National Cashew Association of Nigeria, noted that government should create a location where these herdsmen will be able to stay, feed and grow their cattle without necessarily moving their cattle from Kano to Lagos.

The Fulani indisputably represent a significant component of the Nigerian economy. They constitute the major breeders of cattle, the main source of meat, the most available and cheap source of animal proteins consumed by Nigerians. The Fulani own over 90% of the nation’s livestock population which accounts for one-third of agricultural GDP and 3.2% of the nation’s GDP (Eniola, 2007). Furthermore, the contribution of the Fulani to the local food chain and national food security cannot be overstressed. The Fulani, with their dominance in the Sahel region, are the best known and most numerous of all the pastoral groups in Nigeria. The traditional and unique Fulani encampment (ruga) consisting of temporary structures made of stalks, closely knit family members and livestock is the natural habitat of the orthodox Fulbe settlement (Eniola, 2007) (Eniola, 2007). As the state cannot regulate the mutual coexistence of its citizens in the harmonious sharing of the competed resources, the parties may have to resolve to struggle among themselves with no retreat, no surrender and for the survival of the fittest. The failure of the state, for example to resolve the ‘settler/ ‘indigene’ identity and the inherent struggles over resources can be adduced to have brought dangerous dimensions of economic and political elements in the Fulani pastoralists and farmers’ conflicts (Fiki and Lee, B. 2004: 24-48). Issues bordering on local community security, safety and development are paramount in the enhancement of governance and increase or decrease in agitation for control of resources as well as encroachment of the rights of others. All these have implications for survival and struggles between or amongst communities. Again, local resistance to state policies is central in resource-use through strengthening of community capacity to manage resources and deal with conflicts. Hence, security is a framework for intervention and conflicts. Since insecurity gives ways to conspiracy, conflicts are inevitable. The object of security is to primarily advance the well-being and possessions of the persons involved; while the survival of the state is secondary. In other words, when the character and nature of the state do not seem to protect the security of the citizens, their freedom and choices completely shift away from the state to individuals or groups as the foci of security. The expansion of Fulbe pastoralism into Nigeria is unknown. It is suggested that Fulbe began to settle on the plains of Bauchi Emirate transcending onto the grassland of the Jos Plateau (Morrison, 1982, cited in Blench, 2010:4). Conflicts between pastoralists and farmers have existed since the beginnings of agriculture and increased or decreased in intensity and frequency depending on economic, environmental and other factors. For example, increases in the herd sizes, due to improved conditions of the cattle, compelled the pastoralists to seek for more pastures beyond their limited range. Climate change has constituted a great threat by putting great pressures on the land and thus provoking conflicts between them. However, improvements in human health and population have enhanced a much greater pressure on land. Since the 1980s therefore, there has been a marked expansion of cultivation of the fadama (reverine and valley-bottom) areas. This means that both the farmers and pastoralists have engaged in fierce struggles for access to such valuable lands which, more often than not, result in increased conflicts and violence. The Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, said establishment of ranches was the only solution to the recurring clashes between Farmers and Herdsmen in the country.

Ayatse said this on Friday in Abuja at a two-day National Security Summit.

He said that regulating the movement of the herdsmen would be difficult, adding that it was only practicable on paper. Ayatse said that the country stood to benefit from the introduction of ranches as jobs would be created for Nigerians. He said that ranching would not stop free movement of herdsmen especially if they were passing through a particular state. “If you allow free movement without control, you put everybody at risk and this is what we are seeing in Benue, ranching is part of the control,“he said. The Tor Tiv said that creating ranches did not go against the ECOWAS Treaty of free movement of persons in the sub-region as it was being thought. He said that a committee had been constituted in conjunction with the police in his domain, to identify the “bad eggs” and hand them over to the police. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Benue House of Assembly had recently passed a Bill prohibiting open grazing and allowing the establishment of ranches in the state. The bill is entitled: “Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017’’

According to Okereke (2012) and Bello (2013), the conflicts in most part of Nigeria especially the Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash are largely uncalled for. Farmers can no longer farm peacefully because of Fulani herdsmen. These Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash have pitched Christians and Muslims against each other. Recent studies conducted by Okereke (2012) and Kasarachi (2016) have shown that, serious conflict erupt between Fulani herdsmen and farmers leading to loss of lives, valuable properties and destruction of vast expanse of arable agricultural

farmlands thereby posing serious threat to food security since farmers for fear of attack could no longer go to farm and harvest their farm produce. The latest attacks by Fulani herdsmen is on the upsurge, with the most latest attacks in February 2018 happening in Benue State, Taraba State, Nassarawa State and few cases of attack in other states.

In recent times, the killings recorded by Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash has rampaged most communities displacing them of their farmlands and loss of their major source of livelihood. This is becoming unbearable with the Fulani herdsmen always having their ways leaving the farmers at their mercy. Herdsmen attribute the roots of the crisis to religious differences resulting in the killing of their cows while the farmers see the herdsmen as a threat to their crops and agricultural produce since the herdsmen allow their cows to feed on the farmer crops.

This recent wave of violence in Nigeria as observed by Kasarachi (2016) has disrupted socioeconomic, religious and educational activities, political instability and threatened the national unity in Nigeria. These extra judiciary killings have forced thousands of people to abandon their homes and farmlands for safety. Okereke (2012) asserts that this unfolding violence have become so alarming that there is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is at a crossroad and gradually drifting to a conflict society. Equally begging for answers are the social issues of the rape of women, robbery and kidnapping with ultimate intent for ransom.

Statement of the problem

Establishment of ranches and the movement of beef instead of cattle have been identified by stakeholders as ways to end the incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the country. Over the years there have been uncountable clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Benue state, and other part of the country which have resulted to loss of lives and properties with several others being displaced from their homes. The clashes are fast becoming unbecoming, and a major scourge confronting the nation which is begging for urgent intervention of the Federal Government. No less than ten reported cases have occurred since the beginning of the year and government has not come out with a concrete plan to contain the scourge.

Cattle herding is dominated almost entirely by the Fulani tribe in Nigeria. Iro (1994) gave a vivid documentation of the herding system of the Fulani in Nigeria, and most of what is presented was derived from his account. According to him, herding is a daunting task, and contrary to widespread belief, it is not the delight of the Fulani- they herd not as a matter of choice but as a necessity. In as much as herdsmen care about their cattle’s as a matter of necessity, so does the farmer treasure his or her crop not because it is necessary but because it is indispensable to life. It is against this backdrop that the researcher decide to investigate the efficacy of cattle ranching as a panacea to herdsmen crises in Nigeria.

 Objective Of The Study

The main objective of this study  will be to   investigate the efficacy of cattle ranching as a panacea to herdsmen crises in Nigeria; but to aid the successful completion of the study, the researcher  will intend to achieve the following specific objective;

  1. i)             To ascertain the role of cattle ranching in combatting the herdsmen/farmers crises in Benue state
  2. ii)           To investigate the merit of ranching over open grazing in cattle production

iii)          To examine the effect of open crazing on farm produce in Ondo state

  1. iv)         To ascertain if there is any relationship between cattle ranching and cattle colony.

Research Hypotheses

To aid the effective completion of the study, the following research hypotheses will be formulated by the researcher;

H0: Cattle’s ranching does not play any significant role in curtailing herdsmen farmer’s crises in Benue state Nigeria

H1: Cattle’s ranching does play a significant role in curtailing herdsmen farmer’s crises in Benue state Nigeria

H02: Cattle ranching do not have any advantage over open grazing in respect of farmer’s herdsmen crises in Benue state

H2: Cattle ranching do have an advantage over open grazing in respect of farmers herdsmen crises in Benue state

Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the house committee on agriculture and federal ministry of agriculture as the study seek to enumerate the numerous benefit of cattle ranching over open grazing as this will help in policy formation, the study will also be of importance to the security operative as the findings of the study will help them strategize to curb the menace of herdsmen farmers conflict in Benue state, the study will also be useful 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 great importance to reporters, academia’s, students, teachers and the general public as the study will add to the pool of existing literature and also contribute to bank of knowledge in the subject matter.

Scope of the Study

The scope of the study covers cattle ranching as a panacea to herdsmen crisis in Ondo state, in the cause of the study, the researcher will visit

Organization of Chapters

This research work will be divided into five chapters; the first chapter forms the introductory aspect, background to the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions, research hypothesis, significance of the study, scope of the study and organization of chapters.

The second chapter forms the literature review that deals with conceptual framework, empirical framework, theoretical framework and summary of literature review

The third chapter critically  examines the methodology adopted for the research which include research design, population of the study, sample and sampling technics, validation, reliability, method of data collection, and method of data analysis.

The   forth   chapter death with the analysis of data collected from the field. The last chapter  will be on summary, conclusion, recommendation and suggestion for further studyMR AJAYI

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