Background of the study
Grazing is a type of feeding in agriculture in which herbivores or ruminants consume plants such as grasses and other multicellular organisms such as algae. By combining the preceding description with the term “open,” we may define open grazing as the age-old activity of traveling about with livestock through open fields, plains, and neighboring bushes in search of pasture or sustenance for the animals. It is predominantly done in Nigeria by Fulani herders who travel for days on foot with their herds from the north to the more rain-fed south, pasturing their flock along the way.
Many people have come to see this form of animal grazing as indiscriminate grazing, which has a number of negative repercussions. The system, which can be described as the polar opposite of sedentary/settled or ranching systems, has led breeders (mostly Fulani) to live a nomadic lifestyle – moving around with their flock and family all year round – and could be said to be necessitated primarily by the need to save money, find an easy market for the animals, escape drought prone areas, escape conflict and desertification prone zones, and t
The everywhere or open grazing system was acceptable when human and animal populations were tiny and land was vast, much as shifting cultivation was suited at the time. However, during the past several decades, both species’ numbers have increased, fallow times have been severely curtailed, and weather patterns have shifted. Because change is an unavoidable part of life, some experts argue that altering this culture of primitive or everywhere grazing system is unavoidable. They now consider the method to be backward and outdated, and the people who practice it to be uncivilized, because it has frequently resulted in issues such as cattle rustling (snatching of cattle at gunpoint or through other violent means), damage to cultivated farmlands and eventual conflict with sedentary farmers, obstruction of highways, littering, and damage to the environment (natural and infrastructural), and trespassing. At the present, the system poses a significant danger to national security (Vanguard 2016).
Farm ruins, violent fights, and trail fatalities have all occurred as a result of open animal grazing. The battles have gotten more violent and gruesome in recent years, as pastoralists who previously just carried staff started to carry lethal weapons such as locally-made and automatic rifles such as AK47, with which they freely assaulted their host villages, murdering many people in the process. As a result of the frequency of this unending slaughter, governments have prohibited open grazing via anti-grazing legislation.
In order to curb the escalating violence between farmers and herders in Ekiti state, Governor Ayodele Fayose banned cattle grazing in May 2016 (Ogo-oluwa, 2017). This declaration occurred soon after the deaths of two Ekiti citizens in a violent battle with herders in the state, as well as several other stories on farmer-herder violence across Nigeria and the perceived danger that herdsmen represent to settler towns nationally (Vanguard, 2016). Several weeks later, in August 2016, the governor signed the Anti-Grazing Bill into law, which restricts cattle grazing between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. inside government-approved zones. Millions of Nigerians share Fayose’s views on the sedentarisation, or settlement, of Fulani herdsmen in order to reduce insecurity and bloodshed. Fayose’s answer may look easy and uncomplicated after being applauded for creating “history” and opening the way for governors of other states. Though criticized by a few, perhaps too few, for its potential to exacerbate ethnic conflicts, Fayose’s decision is widely regarded as proactive and representative of the farmers who make up the majority of his constituents, as well as commendable for efforts to foster security and promote agriculture. Therefore it is upon this premise that this study is set to examine anti-grazing policy and conflict resolution between fulani herdsmen and farmers.
Statement of problem
Over the years, the government’s engagement in conflict settlement between Fulani herders and farmers has been minimal, resulting in ongoing violence throughout Nigeria’s several states. Conflicts between farmers and nomadic livestock herders have long been a hallmark of West African economic life.
The Nigeria Watch database has identified 615 violent deaths due to cattle grazing in the last eight years, out of a total of 61,314 violent deaths in Nigeria. The following study was conducted using 111 pertinent incidents published by the press in Nigeria’s 36 states between June 2006 and May 2014. Based on a research of 7 occurrences in 2006, 9 in 2007, 6 in 2008, 13 in 2009, 9 in 2010, 15 in 2011, 17 in 2012, 27 in 2013, and 8 as of May 2014 [Vanguard 2016], it tries to understand the incidence, severity, trends, and location of such violence. These fulani herders’ animals approach the farm to munch on crop leaves, even in the presence of herdsmen who pretend not to see the devastation.
Food shortages, crop devastation, farmers leaving their farmlands, rural-urban migration, and obstruction to rural community development are all consequences of this. Hence concerns were raised by Southern Governors in April 2021 about the alleged invasion and subsequent destruction of the institution’s farmlands by suspected herdsmen, as well as the increase in insecurity plotted by suspected bandits who, under the guise of grazing, are posing a threat to rural communities in the Southern Region (Nairaland 2021). Responding to this, they convened and resolved to prohibit open grazing, through the passage of anti-grazing policy.
It is against this background that this study assesses the Anti-Grazing Policy and Conflict Resolution between Fulani Herdsmen and Farmers.
Objective of the study
The main objective of this study is to assesses the Anti-Grazing Policy and Conflict Resolution between Fulani Herdsmen and Farmers. Specifically the study seeks to:
1. Examine the role of anti-grazing law policy.
2. Investigate the menace of open grazing on farming communities.
3. Examine the effect of these menace on farmers.
The research is guided by the following null hypotheses:
H01: Open grazing has not caused any menace on farming communities.
H02: Anti-grazing Law is not an effective strategy for conflict resolution between fulani herdsmen and farmers.
Significance of the study
This study will be significant to statesmen, policy makers and scholars in conflict resolution field. To policy makers, the study will enlighten them on the need to enact Anti-Grazing Law to checkmate the level of conflict between herdsmen and farmers. To statement the study will enable them provided Grazing route and ranches if need be and thus mandate Owners of cattle’s to establish private ranch for their cattle’s.The study also will add to the body of literature in this area, serve as reference material for student and researchers in this field while providing opportunity for further studies in this area.
Scope of the study
The main scope of this study borders on assessing the Anti-Grazing Policy and Conflict Resolution between Fulani Herdsmen and Farmers. The study is however limited to Enugu State.
Limitation of the study
The study encountered various militating factors which posed as a limitation such as:
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
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.
Definition of terms
Grazing: grazing is a method of animal husbandry whereby domestic livestock are allowed to consume wild vegetations outdoor.
Anti- Grazing Law: Anti-grazing law is a policy that ban open grazing.
Fulani Herdsmen: Fulani herdsmen or Fulani pastoralists are nomadic or semi-nomadic Fulani people whose primary occupation is raising livestock.
Conflict Resolution: Conflict resolution is conceptualized as the methods and processes involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of conflict and retribution.