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ABSTRACT Crop farmers and Cattle herders‟ conflicts have remained the most prevailing resource-use conflict in Bauchi State especially in Misau Local Government Area. Social and economic factors continue to inflame violent conflicts. The competition between these two agricultural land user-groups threats the means of survival and livelihoods of both groups in Misau Local Government Area. The study had the following specific objectives: to describe the socio-economic characteristics of the farmers and cattle herders; determine the socio-economic causes of the conflict in the study area; determine the socio-economic effects of conflict on both groups, evaluate the perception of crop farmers and cattle herders on the performance of institutions involved in managing the conflict. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collections were used. The respondents were drawn using purposive, multi stage and snowball-sampling methods in the four selected Villages. Information was elicited using one hundred and thirty-six (129) structured questionnaire and Eight (8) key informants were selected for the in-depth interview. The quantitative data collected were subjected to both descriptive (frequency count and percentage) and inferential (Logit regression) statistical analysis while the qualitative data were analysed in a thematic form. Data analysis revealed that crop damage (-3.479), blockage of watering points (2.601) were both statistically significant at p < 0.01 and Lawlessness (1.198) statistically significant at p < 0.05 as the major sources of conflict. The findings also revealed lost of expected yield (55.0%), lost cattle, displacement of people (69.0%) and loss of human lives (68.2%) as the major effect of conflict. The study concludes that crop farmers and cattle herders‟ conflict instigate a loss of livelihoods to both groups and contributes to spread and persistent violence such as ethnic clashes and armed robbery. Therefore, it is in the interest of the State to address the genuine needs of the cattle herders for availability of grazing land, resolve the recurring conflicts in the agricultural sector that provides employment to reasonable portion of the country‟s population. The study finally recommends that farmers should adopt intensive cultivation by using improved seeds and farm inputs. The cattle herders should embark on fodder production such as growing of Guatemala and Bracharia to feed their cattle in times of scarcity during the dry season. The study also recommends that the religious, traditional and nomad leaders should give more efforts in preaching the implications of the conflict on the people and the community in general.
1.1 Background to the Study
Land is probably the most important resource needed by Man for his day-to-day existence. All human livelihoods and activities are directly or indirectly dependent on land at varying thresholds. But land connotes different meanings to the various user groups. For instance, builders, manufacturers, fishermen, miners, hunters and farmers have different specifications in their requirements for land for their production/services. Out of all user groups, agricultural production perhaps exhibits the highest form of sophistication in its use of land. Not only must agricultural land be capable of supplying crop-specific nutrients and water; soil temperature, structure, texture and PH levels are inevitable requisites in the choice of land for agricultural production activities. Yet, land is a limited, somewhat scarce resource with both artificial and natural access and usage barriers (Rashid 2012).
These factors of specifications, multifarious uses of land and its limitedness have necessitated that various shades of competition for its utilization must ensue. Thus, competition for land between and within various user groups has been the bane of mankind since time immemorial. Non-agricultural user groups compete with agricultural user groups on one hand, while there are various levels of intra-user group competition on the other. Indeed, competition for land use is becoming keener and fiercer, largely due to increasing human and animal populations (Richard 1976). It has been illustrated that increasing population growth rate has continued to exert great pressure on available land resources with varying environmental and socioeconomic implications (Fiki and Lee, 2004).
Agriculture is the main stay of the northern Nigeria economy, even though there are other mineral resources. The sustainability of agriculture in northern Nigeria economy requires strategic balance in the ecological and socio-economic activities as well as political considerations. Abbass (2012) found that in northern Nigeria, rainfall occurs seasonally with a pronounced dry season. The seasonal rainfall and prolonged dry season bring about dynamics in the ecosystem and sour relationships resulting in a sharp division between the sedentary farmers and the nomadic pastoralists. This division between the groups brings tension and conflict. Farmer-herdsmen conflict has remained the most preponderant resource-use conflict in Nigeria (Rashid 2012). Fulani and farmers co-existed for a long period but such co-existence has never been without tension because it demands a conciliation of rival interests. Conflict can erupt when livestock is poorly controlled and when herds wander on to cultivated fields. This has always had a tendency to occur at critical periods in the annual cycle, particularly during sowing when herds are late in leaving agricultural lands and during harvests, if they return too early. Clashes occur when agricultural activities hinder the movement of herds and cut off their access to water or pastures (Shetima and Usman 2008).
Conflict appears to be an international feature of human societies, therefore is likely to occur at anytime and anywhere. Conflicts offer a mixture of the good, the bad, and the uncertain. On the positive side, conflict notifies the society that serious problems exist that is not being handled by the traditional organization. It forces the recognition of those problems and encourages the development of new solution to them. Abubakar (2012), believed that conflict allows people to express important issues, they produce
new creative ideas; they releases and built-up tensions. Wherever handled properly, conflicts can strengthen relationships, they can help group and organizations to re-evaluate and clarify goals and missions; and they can also initiate social change to eliminate inequalities and injustice. But perhaps more familiar is the negative side of conflict. Heated exchange spiral out of control, resulting in frustration, tension, hard feelings and ultimately more conflicts. Ekong (2003) also enumerated that conflict may have positive and negative effects. In positive effect, people may not know that certain nagging issue exists. Thus, conflict leads to clear definition of issue. Once such issues have been identified, they can then be amicably resolved. Conflict is ubiquitous in human society. Olabode and Ajibade (2010), said that 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 conflicts; the civil (the Biafra war) and several intra-national war in different parts of the country. Conflicts in Nigeria are of diverse types and have been on rapid increase since after the civil war of 1967-1970. This had led to the explosion of 700 pastoralists from Borno state in the north east in May 2009 and some 2000 from Plateau in April. Conflict is largely a phenomenon of plural society. In Nigeria, conflict has become a very widespread occurrence; manifesting in all spheres of human endeavours. It often arises because of competition over access to or control over scarce resources or opportunities‟.