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MENANCE OF FULANI HERDSMEN AND ITS IMPLICATION ON NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA 2008-2018
1.1 Background to the Study
Peace is the crucial element needed in Nigeria at this crucial time for peaceful co-existence and national integration. Peace is an element that promotes unity, non-violence, economic growth and human development. But the Fulani menace in Nigeria seems to make the concept of peace elusive. Okereke (2012) observed that there is increased rate of violence, kidnapping, insurgencies, vandalism, rape, unemployment, terrorist attacks, cultism, arm robbery and so on in the world. Nigeria is not exempted in these global challenges. The Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria have destroyed many lives and properties worth millions of naira.
It is a pity that in Nigeria today, the wave of crisis, conflict and violence in the country as observed by Kaegon (2014) (as cited in Kasarachi, 2016) has disrupted socio-economic, 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. Therefore, peace education is a desideratum for managing the Fulani menace in Nigeria. According to UNESCO (2002) (as cited in Kasarachi, 2016), peace education entails the process of promoting knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to bring about change in the behaviour of children, youth, adults to prevent conflict and violence, both overt and structural so as to resolve conflicts peacefully, and create conducive atmosphere for peace, whether at an intra-personal, inter-personal, inter-group, national and international levels. Alimba (2014) asserted that any form of educational programme that tailored toward promoting the ethics and rudiments of peace and militating conflict in peace education, empowers the learners to acquire necessary character, skills and knowledge to live in peace and harmony with people in geographical location despite their cultural/language differences.
The impacts of peace education in managing the menace of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized. This is because peace education is a pathway to a culture of peace. It also exposes the children and adult learners to the universal values and behaviour on which culture of peace is predicted, including the development of non-violent, conflict resolution skills and unites under one indivisible entity. Adam (2005) postulated that peace education brings about fundamental transformation in the way people live their lives and the way people react to issues bordering on conflict and crises. Peace education is any form of education that helps to reduce aggressiveness and destructive behaviour in the learners. There are strategies that can be employed to manage the menace of Fulani herdsmen in any form of educational programme in Nigeria. Gumut (2007) (as cited in Kasarachi, 2016) hypothesised that school principals and teachers should teach peace education and create peace awareness in students. Thus, peace education should be institutionalized in the school curriculum including adult education programmes and Qua’anic education as a core subject, and extra-curricular activities such as peace clubs in the learning environments. Also, all the geo-political zones in Nigeria should organise peace discussion forum in regular basis to address issues of national interest in the country. This study will however examine the menace of Fulani herdsmen and its implication on national development in Nigeria from 2008-2018.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Multi-ethnic and multi religious are the major factors that characterize Nigeria as a country with several hundred ethnic nationalities each with its language, traditions and culture. This multi complex composition of Nigeria has been both advantageous and disadvantageous. Ethnic and other forms of tensions and crises have characterized the better part of her existence. However the biggest challenge threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria today is herdsmen tormenting the peace of the nation and causing disunity regions like the middle belt region. From Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa and Benue States, there has been unceasing blows delivered by the Herders to the indigenous farming population. However, it seems that the Federal government has failed to come up with a pragmatic approach that can solve the crisis, the daily news channels are littered with stories and gory pictures of ongoing attacks. Inconsistencies in government policies seem to exacerbate these conflicts. While the Benue State government has introduced an anti-grazing law as a way of addressing this problem the federal government seems confused, undecided and is even perceived as complicit. Unless something decisive is done, this menace may become intractable. The menace of herdsmen has been in Nigeria for decades and most states in Nigeria has been witnessing the escalation of the crises especially in the north central areas, which have witnessed mass destruction of farm lands, houses and human genocide especially from 2008 up till this present year (2018). People have deserted their farms and homes to seek refuge in other places therefore becoming refugees and displaced persons and also reducing the level of national development in Nigeria.
These are the problems that can be tackled by identifying its root cause, its manifestations and implications and by diverging and proffering solutions. The menace of Fulani is an issue which has come to stay in Nigeria for decade and it is fast growing by the day. The Northern and central Nigeria have been the areas which the escalation of the crisis have been witnessed in mass. People have deserted their farms, houses to mention but a few, seeking refuge in other places thereby becoming strangers in other lands and reducing the level of national development. This research contends that until something drastic is done the devastation will continue and not only create more security challenges but create demographic crisis of incalculable proportions.
1.3 Research Objectives
The study has both general objective and specific objectives. The general objective or main objective of this study is to examine the menace of Fulani herdsmen and its implication on national development in Nigeria from 2008-2018. The specific objectives are:
i) To study the impacts of the menace of Fulani herdsmen and its implication on national development in Nigeria from 2008-2018
ii) To investigate the responses of government to the menace of Fulani in the country
iii) To determine the causes of the menace of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria
iv) To assess the prevalence of the menace of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria from 2008-2018
1.4 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) What are the impacts of the menace of Fulani herdsmen and its implication on national development in Nigeria from 2008-2018?
ii) What are the responses of government to the menace of Fulani in the country?
iii) What are the causes of the menace of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria?
iv) What is the prevalence of the menace of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria from 2008-2018?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho1: The Fulani Herdsmen Crises does not have any implication on the National Development of Nigeria
1.6 Significance of Study
The recent escalation of the menace caused by the herdsmen has grossly robbed Nigeria’s rapid growth and development as the conflict usually result in massive destruction of cattle, food, property and human life. This obviously has caused the country a lot of setback as development cannot thrive in such areas which are affected by conflict. Therefore it is important to adopt a multidimensional approach to the solution of this crisis, including the contribution of this study
Apart from the fact that there is slow pace of development if any, the country also runs the risk of a poor relationship among the various ethnic groups as such people who formally love been involved will have the fear of travelling to the state of their enemies. This study is therefore justified under the premise that, it will serve as an eye opener for those who are affected by this particular conflict, to foster peace amongst various communities across the nation. The study could also serve as a reference point for other scholars in this study area and students can also learn from it.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study will be carried out in Benue state because it has been reported several times that the herdsmen are seriously causing a lot damages in the state. This will mostly focused on the farmers in Markudi.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The major limitation of this research is the fact that we all are compelled to depend mostly on official information to stitch together what we can glean. Often times the victims do not survive to give their own side of the story. Official sources such as the Police have been accused of complicity and partisanship, often times the actual casualty figures are denied or deliberately played down. There is so much uncertainty and confusion concerning this crisis. Another limitation to this study is dearth of written document. To curb this problem, the study will use oral information. There is also a problem of finance that would hinder the smooth running of the study the time frame of the study is also limited.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Fulani: Fulani pastoralists are nomadic or semi nomadic Fulani herders whose primary occupation is raising livestock. The Fulani herdsmen are largely located in the Northern part of Nigeria , but due to changes in climate patterns many herdsmen have moved further south into the savannah and tropical forest belt of Western region in the country
Herdsmen: those who are tendering cattle from one place to another in search of greener pastures for their cattle
Menace: is a quality or atmosphere that gives you the feeling that you are in danger or that someone wants to harm you.
National development: it refers to the ability of a country or countries to improve the social welfare of the people, for example, by providing social amenities like good education, infrastructure, medical care and social services