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CATTLE RANCHING AS A PANACEA TO HERDSMEN CRISES IN NIGERIA
It is no longer news that there is a fracas between the herdsmen and farmers in Benue state and other part of Nigeria which has led to the loss of dozens of lives and properties in the state. The conflict of interest between the herdsmen and the farmers on open grazing can be said to be the architect of this conflict. Many stakeholders in the region believe that establishment of cattle ranching is the solution to this precarious situation. It is in view of this that the researcher embark on this study to investigate the effectiveness of ranching as a panacea to the Fulani herdsmen crises in Nigeria.
1.1 Background of the study
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, 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’’
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
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.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is 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 intend to achieve the following specific objective;
i) To ascertain the role of cattle ranching in combatting the herdsmen/farmers crises in Benue state
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 Benue state
iv) To ascertain if there is any relationship between cattle ranching and cattle colony.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To aid the effective completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were 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
1.5 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.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers cattle ranching as a panacea to herdsmen crisis in Benue state, in the cause of the study, there are some factors which limited the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Finance: the finance budgeted for the study was a major constraint to the scope of the study, as the researcher has limited resources at his disposal to combine both research work and other academic engagement.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Cattle colloquially cows are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos Taurus
a man who takes care of a large group of animals of the same type.
A ranch is an area of land, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool.
A crisis is any event that is going to lead to an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society
1.8 ORGANIZATION 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), 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.
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