Conflicts among Farmers and Pastoralists in Northern Nigeria Induced by Freshwater Scarcity

Sunday Didam Audu


In recent times, freshwater scarcity in northern Nigeria has increased the prevalence of conflicts in certain parts between farmers and pastoralists because they are among those whose source of livelihood are most threatened.  Competition for access to the diminishing freshwater resources often pitched both groups against each other. This paper describes situations that constitute freshwater scarcity and examines conditions under which such scarcity ignites conflicts among farmers and pastoralists in northern Nigeria. The research adopted a survey design of an ex post facto type.  The sample population consisted of 150 farmers, 100 pastoralists, and 50 from government officials, NGOs and members of the public.  These were selected from the three northern geo-political zones of Nigeria through purposive sampling technique. The instrument used was a structured questionnaire complemented by a semi-structured interview schedule. Reliability test of the questionnaire for internal consistency In statistics and research, internal consistency is a measure based on the correlations between different items on the same test (or the same subscale on a larger test). It measures whether several items that propose to measure the same general construct produce similar scores. recorded a Cronbach value of 0.87. Data from 232 respondents were retrieved with 77% response rate which included 102 farmers (44.7%), 52 pastoralists (22%), and 78 other members of the public (33%).  Analysis was done using Multiple Regression and Pearson Product Moment Correlation.  Findings showed a significant positive relationship between freshwater scarcity and conflicts among farmers and pastoralists (R2 =0.146); and struggle for access to sources of water, and not water scarcity per se, was found to be the most potent predictor of causes of conflict (?= -.278; t= -4.838).  This paper found no support for the commonly held belief that demographic variables, like age, religion, tribe, socio-economic status and level of education cause conflicts.  Results showed an insignificant relationship (R2 = 0.054) of those variables with conflict among farmers and pastoralists.  The study concludes that freshwater scarcity and conflicts instigate a loss of livelihoods to farmers and contributes to diffuse and persistent violence such as ethnic clashes and regional interstate conflicts.

Key Words: Freshwater Scarcity, Farmers, Pastoralists, Conflict, Northern Nigeria.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-607X ISSN (Online)2225-0565

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