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The Fula people also known as Fulani in Hausa language, are a mass population widely dispersed and culturally diverse in all of Africa, but most predominant in West Africa. The Fulani’s generally speak the Fula language. A significant number of them are nomadic in nature, herding cattle, goats and sheep across the vast dry grass lands of their environment, keeping isolate from the local farming communities, making them the world’s largest pastoral nomadic group (Eyekpimi, 2016). They are massively spread over many countries, and are found mainly in West Africa and northern parts of Central Africa, but also in Sudan and Egypt. The main Fulani sub-groups in Nigeria are: Fulbe Adamawa, Fulbe Mbororo, Fulbe Sokoto, Fulbe Gombe, and the Fulbe Borgu (Eyekpimi, 2016).

Nigeria as a nation state is under a severe internal socio-economic and security threat. At a more general level, the threat has special economic, political and environmental dimensions. Each of these dimensions has greatly affected the nation’s stability and can be traced to the Fulani-herdsmen and farmers clash, ethnic militant armies, ethnic and religious conflicts, poverty, insurgency, armed robbery, corruption, economic sabotage and environmental degradation (Damba, 2007).

Food security is a condition related to the supply of food, and individuals’ access to it. Concerns over food security have existed throughout history. There is evidence of granaries being in use over 10,000 years ago, with central authorities in civilizations including ancient china and ancient egypt being known to release food from storage in times of famine (Illufoye, 2009). At the 1974 world food confernce the term “food security” was defined with an emphasis on supply. Food security, they said, is the “availability at all times of adequate world food supplies of basic foodstuffs to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and prices” (United Nations, 2013). Later definitions added demand and access issues to the definition. The final report of the 1996 World Food Summit states that food security “exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (United Nations, 2015).

Household food security exists when all members, at all times, have access to enough food for an active, healthy life (USDA, 2008). Individuals who are food secure do not live in hunger or fear of starvation (FAO, 2006). Food insecurity, on the other hand, is a situation of “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways”, according to the united state department of agriculture (USDA) (2008). Food security incorporates a measure of resilience to future disruption or unavailability of critical food supply due to various risk factors including droughts, shipping disruptions, fuel shortages, economic instability, and wars (Boeing, 2016). In the years 2011-2017 (FAO, 2017), an estimated 842 million people were suffering from chronic hunger (FAO, 2017). The food and agriculture organisation of the United Nations, or FAO, identified the four pillars of food security as availability, access, utilization, and stability (FAO, 2009). The united nations (UN) recognized the right to food in the Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, (United Nations, 2015) and has since noted that it is vital for the enjoyment of all other rights (United Nations, 2015).

Violent conflict and crisis in Nigeria, like other parts of the world, have created a rift in human relations, caused serious threat to food security, among many other effects (Basil, 2015). Crisis is inevitable as long as we live together, especially in a multi-ethnic, cultural and religious community like Nigeria. However violence leaves us with various forms of retardation and underdevelopment resulting from the destruction of lives, farmland and property. The menaces of violent crisis conflict have been on the increase in some most Nigerian cities in the last two decades (Ilufoye, 2009). Most of these conflicts are generally regarded as ethno-religious bigotry and antagonism.

According to Kassam (2014) and Basil (2015), 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. The conflict has had devastating effects on inter-group relationships especially in Nasarawa Egor in Nasarawa State and Agatu L.G.A of Benue State. Apart from the loss of lives, farmlands, food produce and property, it has profound influence on residential relationships, leading to new trends in the polarization of communities. This is evident in a physical manifestation of mono religious areas in Nasarawa and Benue States, with Christians and Muslims living in dominant religious clusters(Eyekpemi, 2016).

Recent studies conducted by Basil (2015) and Ekpeyemi (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 recent attacks by Fulani herdsmen is on the increase, with the most recent attacks in June 2016 occurring in Ossissa community in Ndokwa East and Abraka community in Ethiope East Local Government Areas of Delta State and three more communities (Ugondo, Turan, Gabo Nenzev) in Logo Local Government Area, Benue State, total killings involving no fewer than 60 persons (Ekpeyemi, 2016). The Federal Government recently ordered an inquiry, military crackdown on the group and affirmed its plans to establish cattle ranches as a solution to the frequent clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria (Basil, 2015). 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. Farmers now go to farm armed with weapons for defense in case of attack (Ekpeyemi, 2016).

Recently, several deaths and casualties have been recorded in series of clash between Fulnai herdsmen and farmers. Most people attribute the clash between Fulani Herdsmen and Farmers to religious differences between the Muslims or Islam’s and the Christians(Basil, 2015). Several farmlands have been destroyed due to conflict erupting between farmers and herdsmen. 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. Evidences have shown that herdsmen and farmers clash in several parts of Nigeria especially in the Nassarawa, Delta, Edo, and Benue states could be due to differences in religious background between the herdsmen and farmers. Several lives and farmlands been destroyed in this crisis (Ekpeyemi, 2016). Recently, in Abraka Fulani herdsmen attacked farmers at the farm and claimed one life which prompted the indigenes of Abraka to riot. It was due to this saga that the Ovie of Abraka Kingdom (HRM Akpomedaye Majoroh II) declared state of emergency on the 23rd of April, 2017 on the Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash in a bid to restore peace to the community. It is against this background that this study is conducted to investigate the effects of Fulani herdsmen-farmers crisis on food security in Abraka region.


Nigeria, blessed as it is, with abundant agro ecological resources and diversity, has become one of the largest food importers in sub-Saharan Africa - Idachaba (2009) The above quotation by Nigeria’s renowned agricultural economist epitomizes the central argument of this paper that Nigeria’s food situation is not good enough. Any system where food demand is not sufficiently marched by supply is no doubt one with looming food crisis. Despite pretensions to the contrary, Nigeria is far from being completely food secured. At the global level, somewhere in the world, a child dies of hunger every five seconds, although the planet has more than enough food for all. The United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban Kimoon, laid out these sobering statistics as he kickedoff a three day summit on world food security in Rome. “Today, more than one billion people are hungry”, he told the assembly leaders. Six million children die of hunger every year, 17,000 every day. Dan Kimoon added that in 2050, the world will need to feed two million more mouths – 9.1 billion in all (see, Nigerian Compass, November, 18, 2009:6). In a perceptive work, Kenneth Dahlberg (1998:24-28) identified four global threats that has significant implications for the food security of cities. First, there are three different types of incipient population explosions: human, livestock and cars. The threats of increasing human numbers and urbanization are clear. Less often considered is the explosion since World War II of livestock numbers – today some 38 percent of the world’s grain crop is fed to livestock. Second, there is global warming – an issue beset by uncertainty and confusion. While a few regions may benefit from global warming, the latest projections suggest African agriculture is the most vulnerable, while many agricultural areas in the temperate zones will suffer from more frequent storms, droughts, and floods as well as temperature extremes. Third, the loss of biodiversity is perhaps the greatest long-term threat to global sustainability. The fourth one is the threat of poverty and globalization of injustice. Whatever one understands the sources of this to be, the weak, and the poor (including poor cities and states) are becoming more vulnerable than ever to powerful economic forces and structures. For instance, significantly, after 50 years, average grain prices over the last three years have increased 12 percent a year for wheat, a percent for rice, and 16 percent for maize (see, Dahlberg, 1998:25). It is in view of the foregoing that attainment of food security is imperative in any country. This is why all developed and developing countries make considerable efforts to increase their food production capacity. But hunger, defined here as a situation in which there is an inadequate quantity of available food; and malnutrition which is indicative of intake of unbalanced diets, have been ravaging most developing countries, severely menacing poor families (Macnamara, 1973:107). Both have also had debilitating effects in the productive capacity of the citizens, impacting negatively on the overall economic development of many countries. The twin problem of hunger and malnutrition is closely linked with poverty. While hunger may be occasioned  mostly by lack of jobs, or hyper – inflation that causes reduced purchasing power among others, which may be eliminated or reduced with sound management of the national economy, malnutrition is caused by poor diet and has a very long-term devastating effect as people in many poor countries. Medical and anthropometric evidence has shown, for instance, a very close link between malnutrition and infant mortality, poor growth in children as well as reduced adults’ immune system to fight some diseases. To be sure, malnutrition saps the working strength of an economy, cripples the mind and body of children and consequently deprives the society of its greatest potential that is, its future productive human resources (Salvative and Dowlins, 1977:61). In contrast, countries that are food-secure do not have this dreadful situation to contend with (Davies, 2009). Meanwhile, Nigeria is one of the food-deficit countries in sub-saharan Africa although it is arguably better in terms of production than the others. It has also not suffered any major catastrophe that could precipitate scourges of famine, mass hunger and therefore food crisis. This does not in anyway prevent public policy makers from being conscious of avoiding the debilitating impact of food shortages in neighbouring countries which has however made food security become a first order priority of the present Nigerian government (Atinmo and Adeniran, 1999:110). This paper has two major foci. First, it is to evaluate Nigeria’s food security situation and second it is to explore food security and diplomacy most especially in a democratic dispensation. To achieve this objective, the paper has been divided into a number of sections. With this introductory overview, the paper proceeds to conceptualizing food security without necessarily being definitional. The third part is an evaluation of Nigeria’s food security. Part four is an in-depth review of Nigeria’s agricultural policies over the years. The fifth part is on the imperative of food security in Nigeria’s nascent democracy. The sixth part dwells on science, technology and food security. While the seventh part also explores the nexus between food security and diplomacy in contemporary states’ gamut of interactions. The paper infers that the wide gap between intents and actual practices vis-à-vis Nigeria’s food policy and programmes may require a new approach and philosophy if the fate that befell Nigeria’s neighbour will not befall the country more so, that the country lacks clear cut food policy. We now proceed to the conceptualization of food security.


 Having presented the general purpose of … a study, (literature review) brings the reader to date in the pervious research in the area, pointing to general agreements and disagreements among the previous researchers … Carefully review the studies that led to the acceptance of those ideas … (Babbie, 1998). This section of the paper takes off with the above premise as postulated by Babbie (1998). Without necessarily being definitional, we intend to conceptualize food security. This becomes imperative in the sense that it has assumed the status of an “essentially contested concept” (see, Gallie, 1962). Simply because the concept of food security has been used in various ways. Whereas, food security in its most basic form is defined as the access to all people to the food needed for a healthy life at all times (FAO and WHO, 1992 cited in Eide, 1999:3). Though, in a simple language, a country is food-secure when majority of its population have access to food of adequate quantity and quality consistent with decent existence at all times (Reutlinger, 1985:7; Idachaba, 2004:2). What is implied in this definition is that food must be available to the people to an extent that will meet some acceptable level of nutritional standards in terms of a calorie, protein and minerals which the body needs; the possession of the means by the people to acquire (i.e. access) and reasonable continuity and consistency in its supply (Davies, 2009:4). In other words, food security can be taken to mean access by all people at all times to sufficient food for an active, health life (Reutlinger, 1985). Its central elements are: (a) the availability of food and (b) the possession of the ability for its acquisition (Adeoti, 1989:117). Food insecurity on the other hand represents lack of access to enough food and can be either chronic or temporary. In chronic food insecurity, which arises from a lack of resources to produce or acquire food, the diet is persistently inadequate (Adeoti, 1989:117). It should be noted that availability of food alone does not seem sufficient to explain the attainment of food security in a country. Food can be available in a country because of effective agricultural policy; good harvest in a particular year or massive importation of food; or food handout (aid). Massive food import, particularly by developing countries, usually has negative effect on foreign reserves and causes budgetary hemorrhage (Davies, 2009), while food and which is sometimes used as an economic instrument in the service of political goal of the donor countries (Ikoku, 1980:286), may even discourage food production activities in the recipient countries; any country that needs massive food input or food aid before its citizens could feed would have only a short term solution to its food crisis but would not be food-secure for all times because the feeding of the people in that country will be dependent on the willingness and sometimes the ability of the external suppliers to supply. This is not to suggest that every country that has reason(s) to import food lacks food supply. On the contrary, some countries may and do import food to offset production shocks and cover the short-fall in domestic food supplies (Lavy, 1992:126), encourage consumption of some food items or even assist the export trade of a particular target state with which they have bilateral trade agreements. Import of food by such countries may not necessarily be undertaken to solve any severe food shortage problem. To that extent, these countries are not food-insecure. Food security should not be seen only from the perspective of availability as earlier mentioned either in quantitative or qualitative terms. Food hygiene and safety should also be given important consideration in order to protect the health of the people. Food, for instance, may be available but the source from which the food is produced or processed may be unhygienic or that the chemical substances used to produce or preserve the food may constitute a health hazard. Health and safety consideration therefore becomes important in food production. For instance, given the likely general misuse of chemicals due to illiteracy and crass ignorance, particularly in developing countries, some chemicals used for treating livestock diseases indiscriminate application of pesticides to treat crops diseases or control pest and other agricultural parasites, may be harmful to humans much later after the consumption of the agricultural products (Sinha, 1976:21). In essence, a country should be considered as food-secure when food is not only available in the quantity needed by the population consistent with decent living, but also when the consumption of the food should not pose any health hazard to the citizens (Davies, 2009). The new thinking in the extant literature on food security not long ago is the nexus between the concept and human rights. On 10 December1948, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and called it a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. One of these rights is the right to adequate food and to be free from hunger, which is set out in the Universal Declaration (Article 25), in the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 11), in the Convention in the Rights of the Child (Articles 24 and 27), and in numerous other instruments (see, Eide, 1999:2). International human rights law has thus firmly established that everyone has a right to adequate food and a fundamental right to be free from hunger. These rights are assumed to be universal, though clearly they are not yet globally enjoyed. While there has been a long process to make these rights universal since 1948, much remains to be done. Eight hundred million human beings around the world suffer from severe malnutrition, for them, food security is non-existent. This represents a severe weakness in existing human rights policy (Eide, 1999). In the words of Jenkins and Scanlan (2001:718), food is the most basic of human needs and is central to the discussion of human rights and social development. In the same vein, food security has been promoted by the United Nations as the most basic human need and as a central indicator of absolute poverty and physical well being. Food security refers not only to an adequate aggregate supply of food, but also means that “all people at all times have both physical and economic access to basic food”. This requires not just enough food to go around. It requires that people have ready access to food (UNDP, 1994:24 also cited in Jenkins and Scanlan, 2001), this is measured using two indicators: (1) food supply is measured as the mean daily per capita supply of calories and protein (FAO 1996) and (2) the child hunger rate is measured by the percentage of children under age 5 who are undernourished (UNDP, 1994). It is in this context that Clover (2003:5) averred that ‘no human right has been so frequently and spectacularly violated in recent times as the right to food”. Africa which reversed from being a key exporter of agricultural commodities into being a net importer, has the highest percentage of undernourished people and has shown less progress on reducing the prevalence of undernourishment in the last 30 years. Chronic food insecurity now affects some 28% of the population that is nearly 200 million people who are suffering from malnutrition. Acute food insecurity in 2003 is affecting 38 million people in Africa who are facing outright risk of famine with 24,000 dying from hunger daily. Famines are the most visible and extreme manifestation of acute food insecurity. Of the 39 countries worldwide that faced food emergencies at the beginning of 2003, 25 are found in Africa. It is vital to add that Amartya Sen (cited in Clover, 2003) has been credited with initiating the paradigm shift in the early 1980s that brought focus to the issue of access and entitlement to food. Food insecurity is no longer seen simply as a failure of agriculture to produce sufficient food at the national level, but instead as a failure of livelihoods to guarantee access to sufficient food at the household level. Today, most common definition begin with individual entitlement, though recognizing the complex inter-linkages between the individual, the household, the community, the nation and the international community (see, Clover, 2003:7). In the 1996 Rome declaration on world food security, food security is defined as: food that is available at all times, to which all persons have means of access, there is nutritionally adequate in terms of quantity, quality and variety, and is acceptable within the given culture (cited in Clover, 2003:7). Availability, access and affordability are all elements of food security complex issues that encompass a wide range of interrelated economic, social and political factors – internal and external which challenge Africa’s ability to address food security. In a perceptive work, Menghestab Haile (2005: 2169) identified a number of factors that are responsible for the precarious food insecurity, in Africa. They are: low agricultural productivity, lack of agricultural policies, poor infrastructure and high – transport costs, lack of appropr

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