FULANI HERDSMEN AND ITS IMPLICATION ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
Background of study
With a population of 20 to 30 million, the Fulani are the largest ethnic group in the Sahel. The Fulani have traditionally been semi-nomadic cattle herders, and communities would travel long distances along grazing routes to find food for their herds.The Fulani are an ethnic group, thought to be the largest in the Sahel with an In Nigeria, the Fulani are mostly concentrated in the north. However, a combination of political insecurity and drought is driving them further south, where they are clashing with local farming communities. Tensions between farmers and herdsmen have risen dramatically in recent years. According to Dr Roudabeh Kishi,(2018) director of the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), which monitors and maps conflict, the conflict ‘has increasingly ethnic (Fulani vs other Nigerian ethnicities), religious (Muslim herders vs Christian south), and cultural (nomadic vs sedentary) dimensions.According to ACLED data, Fulani ethnic militias were responsible for 217 civilian deaths between January and April of this year, with March being particularly violent. In comparison, Boko Haram, one of the continent’s most dangerous terrorist groups, killed 78 civilians during the same time period.‘Fulani attacks on farmers are primarily practical rather than ideological; competition for suitable grazing land over the autumn and winter months. Though this has historically been seen as a reoccurring seasonal problem for many of the area’s farming communities, last month’s uncharacteristic level of violence has demanded attention of the national government and military,’ says Kishi.(2018)
During the colonial period, the concept of community development emerged. It consists of three major components: community participation, organization, and work.Community development is a process in which members of a community work together to solve existing problems. This type of collective action frequently results in the economic, social, environmental, and cultural well-being of the community. Community development actions can be initiated by a small group or by the entire community.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Fulani herdsmen and farmers’ violent clashes have wreaked havoc on many Nigerian communities. Many people have died, many have been displaced, and property in the form of crops, animals, houses, vehicles, and so on has been destroyed.The deadly clashes between herdsmen and crop farmers have become one of Nigeria’s most serious security issues, ranking second only to the Boko Haram insurgency (Okoro, 2018). The two groups’ violent conflict has manifested itself in the form of bloody clashes (attacks and counter attacks).
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