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No End in Sight to Farmers, Herdsmen Clashes in Nigeria

The 2017 budget does not seem to provide the solutions to the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen. One of the biggest security challenges Nigeria has been grappling with in recent times is the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen. A long term effect, aside the increasing number of deaths, destruction of farmlands and properties, sometimes of entire villages in reprisal attacks, is the threat to food security.

Several states of the federation have been experiencing continuous attacks, particularly Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Taraba and there have also been pockets of reported clashes in Ekiti, Ondo, Delta, Abia and others in the South. According to reports, at least 1, 269 persons were killed by the rampaging herdsmen in Benue State alone, between April 2013 and July 2016. On February 29, 2016, the herdsmen, armed with guns, allegedly attacked several Agatu villages, murdering about 500 villagers, and displacing several thousands.

The major causes of the clash is the need by the herdsmen to feed and water their cattle, and because of the effects of climate change, and the activities of Boko Haram in the North-east, the herders have to move Southwards. As climate change caused more desertification in Northern Nigeria, and watering grounds disappearing with 95 per cent of Lake Chad drying up, nomads were forced to move Southwards to find foliage and water for the cattle.

Josh Townsley

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