Land is probably the most important resources needed by man for his day to day existence. All human livelihoods and activities are directly or indirectly dependent on land at varying thresholds yet land is a limited somewhat scare resource with both artificial and natural usage barriers which has resulted in various shades of competition for its utilization and in recent times has become fiercer largely due to increasing human and animal population. Farmers and Herdsmen conflict has removed the most preponderant resource use conflict in Nigeria. This research work encompasses the relationship between farmers and cattle herdsmen in Nigeria; America and other African sub-region. The basis of this study borders on the conflict that has arisen between the farmers and herdsmen, the different methods that can be used for its resolution and how the law comes into play to restore normalcy in their relationship in order to ensure agricultural sustainability in the country. For the purpose of this research, the methods of data collection adopted are references, statute books, text books, articles, journals, and newspaper and internet materials on the subject matter.




  • Background of the Study

Agriculture has provided the resources for financing economic development in Nigeria.

She was famous for her agrarian economy through which cash crops like palm produce (Oil & Kernel, Cocoa, rubber, timber, etc. were exported making her a major exporter in that aspect. Exportation of agricultural produce helped Nigeria. Agricultural development is two to four times more effective at reducing hunger and poverty than any other sector. Helping farm families grow more is the smartest way to fight hunger and poverty.

Traditional agricultural development which includes cattle rearing and farming amongst other things have been a prominent means of revenue generation in Nigeria, however, in recent times there has been an increase in the conflict between these two agricultural land-user group.

Agriculture the mainstay of the economy of the local people is being disrupted by these conflicts making livelihood difficult at both the immediate locality as well as the larger societies that are dependent on proceeds from these two warring communities.

Therefore, food supply is affected in both quantity and price. Nigeria is currently not enjoying the best of times.

This study describes the traditional relationship between farmers and cattle herdsmen and incessant resource conflict witnessed in Nigeria.

These conflicts are most responsible for the unsustainable utilization of land and water resources, as the trampling by the hooves of herds of cattle destroy the farm crops and places restrain on effective utilization of arable farm land resources among other destruction of available resources, it is understood that these conflict have their roots in the land tenure system; settlers and indigenes contest over land and misplaced government development.

The report aims to fill a gap in our understanding of the relationship and conflicts that has arisen between cattle herders and farmers.

Farmers-herdsmen conflicts have persisted for far too long and the various strategies adopted by both groups have brought little or no progress in dousing the tide and impacts of the conflict.

The failure of the government in mediating such conflicts and settling up judicial commissions cannot be underestimated because it pushes communities to take laws into their own hands.

After the initiation of the first national livestock development project (NLDP) and the enactment of a grazing law by the Northern Nigeria legislative Assembly in 1965, the authorities have tried to provide grazing lands in order to make the nomads sedentary and it has been recorded that only 270 of these official grazing lands are functional.

During the past eight (8) years, the Nigeria watch database has recorded 615 violent deaths related to conflict between cattle herders and farmers. The major cause of such conflicts was the invasion of farm land by cattle breeders, leading to attacks and reprisals from both groups.

In Nigeria from 1996 to 2006 about 121 people lost their lives in Bauchi Gombe as a result of conflict between herdsmen and farmers.

Many communities particularly in the North Central and South Eastern States have also recently faced severe attacks allegedly perpetuated by Fulani herdsmen.

The attacks of herdsmen have not only been witnessed in the North Central and South East alone, farmers in Lagun, Iyana, Offa, Atagba Lapata and their Surrounding communities in Ibadan. Oyo State alleged that a group of Fulani armed men attacked their communities carting away valuables.

Essentially, in all these development, the government has to find a lasting solution to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

1.2       Statement of Problem

According to reports, there has been an escalation of the level of violence which has proceeded from unresolved dispute between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria. With aggressive laws aimed towards balancing this relationship, there is no doubt that Nigerians can withstand the shock and uncertainties. There is need to ensure collaboration between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria. Government needs to shift its attention to finding more effective ways of resolving this conflict as this will help to improve the development and growth of Agriculture in the country and this will in turn help to internally generate funds for the economy.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

  • To examine the relationship between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria and how the law can by intervening in their conflict improve agricultural development.
  • To examine the effects of this conflicts on the society in general and the economic effects of this conflict.
  • To examine the effectiveness of laws that has been put in place in maintaining conflict and bolstering the development of Agriculture.

1.4       Scope of Study

This study will cover the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen that has been trending in Nigeria. It will also cover the activities of the legislature who has tried to find possible ways to ameliorate this conflict.

1.5       Significance of Study

This research will educate the stakeholders saddled with the management of agriculture in Nigeria and the general public on how this conflict has contributed in impairing the growth of the country.

Findings from this study will also educate the government on the effectiveness/ ineffectiveness of the statutory and institutional framework governing the relationship between farmers and herdsmen.

This research will be a contribution to the body of literature, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.

1.6       Research Methodology

The method of data collection adopted used by the researcher for this study includes publication research, references, statute books, text books, articles, journals, newspapers and internet materials on the subject matter.

1.7       Limitation of the Study

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.

Financial Constraint

Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet and interview).

1.8       Literature Review

The literature review in this research work will consider 3 major works in resource-conflict management between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria. The first is the research paper on Causes, Effects and Resolution of Farmers-Nomadic Cattle Herders Conflict in Delta State Nigeria by A. U. Ofuku and B. I. Isife. The research paper unveils the causes of such conflicts and suggests ways to prevent them in the future. The causes of such conflict were destruction of crops, contamination of streams by cattle over grazing of land, disregard for local traditional authorities, female, harassment, harassment of nomads by youths of host communities, indiscriminate bush burning, etc, it also provide for the socio-economic effects of the conflicts. The study suggest that local development plans should be established to reduce such conflict and that the extent of damage and compensation should be agreed upon by the parties at the community level with the agricultural extension agent as facilitators, however, this research paper is limited only to the farmers herdsmen conflict observed in Delta State.

The second work reviewed is a work by Philip A; Olayoku; on The Trends and Patterns of Cattle Grazing and Rural Violence in Nigeria[1].

The work analyzes the root causes, dynamics evolution and politicization of cattle grazing conflicts in Nigeria; it identified the key actors in lethal rural violence from cattle grazing as herdsmen, farmers, community members, vigilantes, security operatives, government officials and in rare cases religious leaders. The work also highlights the intensity and the time frame of such violence after reviewing the historical, political and socio-economic contexts. From the work, it was observed that the North Central region appears to be the hotbed of these conflicts, through the problem remains spread across different parts of the country and occurs at different times of the year.

The third work reviewed is The Legislative and Institutional Environment Governing Livestock Mobility in East and West Africa by Nat Dyer (April, 2008).

The work provides a basic understanding of how other countries have tried to mitigate the conflict between farmers and herdsmen by making laws to that effect and the extent those laws have been put into practice. The work also showed that Nigeria does not really have laws protecting the rights of the herdsmen (Pastoralists in Nigeria). The work broadly discusses the protection of critical infrastructure within the context of farmers-pastoralist conflict management in West Africa.

The paper builds on previous studies of legislative environment governing livestock mobility such as Barry (1997) Ouedrago (1995). The primary focus is on legislation concerning pastoralists land use, ownership rights and pastoral mobility


[1] Trends and patterns of cattle grazing and rural violence in Nigeria (2006-2014) IFRA-Nigeria working papers series N.34