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1.1 Background to the Study
The average increase of global war is predominantly in the third world nations among which Nigeria is one. Since independence from Britain in 1960. Nigeria has recorded a major conflict; the civil war (Biafra war) and several intra national wars in different parts of the country. According to Aliyu(2004) ,”conflict in Nigeria is of diverse types and have been on rapid increase since after the civil war of 1967-1970.These conflict are mainly attributable to resources control and divergent, value system in the country (Olabode and Ajibade,2010).
Some of these conflicts have been characterized as crises of identity (Isa, 2001), or competition for control of political space. Alubo (2005), provides us with some examples of ethno-religious and communal conflicts thus; the Ife- Modakeke communal conflict of Oyo/Osun state in 1999,Hausa/Fulani and Kataf of ZangonKataf in Kaduna State 2000, Ijaw and Istekiris of Warri in Delta State,1999;Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba ethnic clashes in Oyo and Lagos respectively in 1999/2000; Jukun/Chamba and Kuteb, Jukun and Tiv in Taraba State, 1998/1999; (Isa,2001).More so, Nigeria in the recent times has been faced with other insecurity problems among which include; Niger Delta militant in the southern part of the country and Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of the country. Benue state on the other hand has been faced with a lot of security challenges and of recent the herdsmen-farmers conflict.
According to Jibo et al(2001), some cases of communal crises in Benue state to include Jukun and Tiv, Ipav and Ukan, Tiv and Ibo, Masev and Idoma and the rest. Otite and Albert (1999:378) pointed out that the pursuit of access to the variety of limited resources which includes chieftaincy positions, powers, rival status, grass land, markets, water spots for animals, rival claim to land, government policies, leadership of political parties and the rest. By individuals differentiated in different categories in defined socio- physical environment give rise to conflicts.
A study of major source of conflict in Benue valley revealed that land matter accounted for the highest percentage (42.9%) of conflict followed by political (32.08%) and the chieftaincy matters (28.3%) respectively. A high percentage of conflict arising from the disputes has to do with land matters and conflict between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers over grazing land. The state played a key role in the conflict of land in three (3) critical levels, viz: (1) the state inability `to address the indigene and settler phenomenon in the Nigerian constitution. The unresolved issue on grazing land and water spot that is central to the economic survival of both the herdsmen and farming communities. The Nigerian land tenure system which has had serious implication for land acquisition by peasants and the lower class.
As already noted in the paper the various conflict that ensued between Fulani herdsmen and farmers arose from the destruction by herds of cattle. Government at various levels (federal, state and local) have not address the issue of adequate provision of grazing reserve to accommodate the interest of herdsmen who are always on the move to secure food and water for their herds. The socio-economic lives of both the farmers and herdsmen revolve around land and therefore, land matter becomes easily conflicted. Another critical issue that is related to land is the phenomenon of indigene ship in Nigeria. The factor of indigene ship confers on individual the right to own land. Boh. A (2007) and Gbehe (2007) in their separate work pointed that land in most communities in Nigeria such as among Tiv people in Benue valley, is frightened with symbolic meanings, it is sacred and considered as ancestral and historical sphere of inference on the strength of this, therefore conflict over land are usually fierce with massive destruction of lives and properties.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This study was set out to examine the impact of Tiv farmers and Fulani herdsmen conflict (communal conflict) on agricultural output in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State. The clash between Fulani-herdsmen and the indigenous farmers in Benue state in general and in Guma Local Government Area in particular has been so disastrous that it become an issue of concern to the farmers and the state government. Destruction of farmlands and agricultural produce which is likely to hinder the economic well-being of the farmers and waste of resources has been alarming. The destruction of farmlands, market centers, where these agricultural produce are sold, displacement of farmers from their land would affect the farming activities in times of such crises. This can result to food scarcity and hike in the price of goods and services thereby leading to problems of hunger, starvation, crime, poverty, recession etc.
1.3 Research Questions
These are specific questions arising from the presentation of the research problem that indicate the direction of the search to the researcher. Also, they are questions that pointed to a particular direction of inquiry.
The research answers the following research questions
i. What was the magnitude of Tiv-Fulani crises on agricultural output in Guma Local Government Area?
ii. What were the effects ofTiv-farmers and Fulani herdsmen crises on the farmers, farmlands and farmers’ income in Guma Local Government Area?
iii. What are the likely solutions to curb the menace of conflict between Tiv farmers and Fulani herdsmen in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State?
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study
Aim is a general statement of intention which is intended to be accomplished at the end of the study. While the objectives are very specific statements of intention logically derived from the research questions. They are usually itemized.
The general aim of this study is to examine the impact of Tiv farmers and Fulani herdsmen conflict on agricultural output in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State. The specific objectives are:
i To examine the magnitude of Tiv farmers- Fulani herdsmen crises on agricultural output in Guma Local Government Area.
ii To evaluate the effects of the Tiv-farmers and Fulani herdsmen crises on farmers, farm lands and farmers’ incomes in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.
iii To suggest likely solutions to curb the menace of conflict between Tiv farmers-Fulani herdsmen in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The significant of this study lies greatly in the fact that at the end of this research work, it will contribute to the existing knowledge in literature about Tiv farmers-Fulani herdsmen crises , it causes, its effect on economy and the possible solution to reduce or curtail the menace. The study would also be of significance to the following areas;
The study would provide a framework to other students who intend to carry out similar studies. The study would be of immersed help and use to Benue state Government, Guma local government and the farmers in proffering solution in settling the Tiv farmers-Fulani herdsmen cases and even other similar crises that may occur some other time. The study would be of great help to other group who are experiencing similar conflicts in their communities. All suggestions at the end of the study would help shape and mold peoples’ attitude towards conflict which would be of immense help to the farmers, governing and the governed.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The main focus in the study is that the majority of the people living in Guma local government area are farmers hence clash between the farmers and Fulani’s would affect the farming activities. The study is interested in examining the impact of of this conflict on agricultural output in Guma local government area of Benue state.
The study is carried out in the following council wards of Guma local government area, they include; Nzorou, Mbaye/Yandev, Saghev, Nyiev and Mbawa council wards. The interests in these areas is that they are the major areas which were seriously erupted by Tiv farmers and the Fulani herdsmen, therefore carrying research in the council wards would give a better and reliable result, within limited time factor.This area was selected because Agriculture is the bedrock of its economic activities and has been a victim of the Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers conflict for a period of time. The Agricultural crops produced by farmers in Guma local government include; Yam, cassava, melon, guinea corn, beni seed, rice soya beans and others
1.7 Definition of Key Terms
1.7.1 Conflict: In relation to this study, conflict can be seen as a clash between two or more persons, groups or countries over struggle for scarce or limited resourse. Conflict is unhealthy to the society, because it poses a fundamental threat and challenge to progress or meaningful transformation in society.
1.7.2 Agricultural output: Agricultural output, in context to this study can be seen as the amount of agricultural produce produced by a person, machine, or an organization.
1.7.3 Farmers: Farmers are those who own and manage a farm. Tivs are people in Benue State, North central part of Nigeria whose major occupation is farming. A typical Tiv man cannot do without farming
1.7.4 Herdsmen: These are those whose work or job is to take care of animals such as cows, sheep, goats, elephants etc.
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