1.1 Background to the Study
One major problem confronting world peace today is the manifestation of conflicts in different dimensions across the globe. From Europe to America, Africa to Asia, conflicts are common phenomena (Marshall and Gurr, 2005 in Jeong, 2008). Conflict has been defined in different ways by different scholars. For instance, Ekong (2003) defined conflict as that form of social interaction in which the actors seek to obtain scarce reward by eliminating or weakening their contenders. Folger et al. (2009) defined conflict as the interaction of interdependent people who perceive incompatible goals and interference from each other in achieving thosegoals. Gyong (2007) defined conflict as the struggle for dominance or control of one person or group by the other in such a way as to subjugate or even eliminate the opponent.
Nigeria has experienced and is still experiencing conflicts of grave proportions among several ethnic and religious communities across the states. These conflicts significantly vary in dimension, process and the groups involved. It was observed by Momale (2003) that, while some conflicts arise between same resource user group such as between one farming community and another, others occur between different user groups such as between herders and farmers or between foresters and farmers. Adisa (2012) observed that the farmers-herdsmen conflict has remained the most preponderant resource-use conflict in Nigeria.
According to Abbas (2009) a study of major sources of conflicts between the Fulani pastoralists (to be used interchangeably with “herders” or “herdsmen”) and farmers shows that land related issues, especially on grazing fields, account for the highest percentage of the conflicts. In other words, struggles over the control of economically viable lands cause more tensions and violent conflicts among communities.
Historical tensions between Nigeria’s pastoralist Fulani and settled indigenous farmers have intensified in recent years, with dwindling natural resources and land availability greatly contributing to the ongoing, escalating conflict in the country (Okello et al., 2014.). Berger (2003) considered that, pastures, woody vegetation, water resources and land are taken as a common property resource. The increasing number of reports of violence at this occupational boundary makes understanding herder-farmer conflicts an urgent task. We need to know not just why friction begins, but also why and how, as some conflicts unfold they articulate with religious, ethnic, and political conditions (Morizt, 2010).
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