Dons attribute herder-farmer disputes to economic factors

Kings Nwachukwu

Kings Nwachukwu

According to Drs. Obodo Ijie and Isaac Otegwu of Veritas University in Abuja’s Department of Political Science and Diplomacy, the ongoing disputes between herders and farmers are only motivated by economic considerations.

Dr. Obodo noted in his review of the book “The Root Cause of Farmers-Herders Crisis in North Central Nigeria” by Plangshak Suchi and Sallek Musa that the conflicts that have hampered access to farms, increased theft, destroyed farms, killed animals, and decreased sales of farm products have had a detrimental effect on the economic activities and way of life of women in particular.

“Women have a weak potential for economic resilience,” he said, “since women and children on whose labor they depend are compelled to find alternative means of livelihood like begging for alms, domestic service, while children are driven to hawk or work as laborers on farms with others doing menial chores.

“This has exacerbated children’s vulnerability because some of them are mistreated and some are used for transactional sex and drug misuse, among other things. Some of these mothers and children end up contracting sexually transmitted diseases as a result. Women and children suffered the most as a result. In order to support themselves and their families, women also engaged in prostitution.

According to the findings, he said, most attacks committed by male aggressors during violent disputes between farmers and herders are perceived as such, while women and children are viewed as weaker groups that are entangled in a web of violence.

While it is obvious that women are typically portrayed as victims who suffer the most violence, he was quick to point out that this neglects to take into account the fact that some women are active in the agricultural industry and are likely to share the same grievances and concerns as male farmers and herders.

According to Dr. Obodo, because it upends the family unit, losing family members and relations is one of the most traumatic experiences for women in farmer-herder conflicts.

He said: “It is also widely thought that when the conflict between farmers and herders happens, displacement and dislocation of families occur. People are compelled to leave their houses as a result, either to seek safety with friends and family or, in the worst circumstances, to relocate to makeshift camps for internally displaced people.

He continued by saying that forced relocations in certain ways lead to additional issues like the disruption of typical life patterns, an increase in poverty, and a worsening of economic circumstances.

He said that in addition to having bruises, herdsmen also have to deal with the effects of the ongoing crisis, which has reduced the amount of dairy products available, which has a negative impact on their income and affected the supply of milk and butter that is always given to women and children for sale to meet their daily needs.

The cattle are not producing milk as much as they should since people are eating less, farmers are chasing them away because they are encroaching on fields, and some of them are sick. Because of this, the ladies who work with the herder have less milk to sell, which has led to some of them begging or staying at home unemployed, he said.

He added that because of the fighting, less people attend markets outside of the impacted areas because those markets are referred to as “bush markets,” where goods can be purchased for less money.

Dr. Obodo was adamant that the ongoing conflicts were driving up the cost of food and beef.

Dr. Isaac Otegwu claimed that the study serves as valuable reference material for academics conducting additional research.

“It is a must-read for policymakers in their pursuit of long-term remedies to the repeated conflicts between farming communities and herders,” he continued. Security agencies will also find the book helpful because it can provide valuable intelligence that can be used to stop the crisis and prevent subsequent disasters. The research’s conclusions will also be helpful to traditional institutions in the affected states that are concerned in promoting peaceful coexistence amongst the offended groups.

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