Nigeria’s Contemporary Security Challenges: Herders – Farmers Conflict and Banditry

Sofiri Joab-Peterside


Banditry and the violent conflicts between herders and farmers in Nigeria have become potentially dangerous in recent time resulting in humanitarian emergencies as thousands have been killed and many more uprooted from their homes while both the Federal and State government appears clueless on how best to contain the conflicts. The spread of the conflict to southern states of the country is aggravating the fragile relations among ethnic nationalities and religious groups. President Buhari, a Muslim and Fulani, has been accused of allowing the attacks to continue, and his Vice President, Professor Osibanjo, a Christian, has been faulted for failing to speak out. At the heart of the conflicts are dispute over grazing on farmlands and cattle rustlings; expansion of agriculturist population and cultivated land at the expense, deteriorating environmental condition such as desertification; breakdown in traditional conflict resolution mechanisms of land and water disputes, drug abuse, proliferation of small arms and outright criminality, all of which points to a national security failure. The loss of faith in the national security architecture which assumes the form of creation of Special Security Forces, resort to self-help by state governments and citizens’ groups, anti-grazing laws against ECOWAS protocol that allows unrestricted movement of animals for grazing across the countries in the sub-region and the culture of impunity. This paper examines the fundamental issues surrounding banditry and the Herders – Farmers conflict in Nigeria with a view to highlight its implications for national security in contemporary times. It is argued here that considering the seeming intractability of these conflicts and violence, it appears that the security architecture of the country has been hijacked and the Nigerian state has ceased to be in full control and command of the national security situation especially as the safety of life and property can no longer be guaranteed. The security regime has been hijacked, undermined, and compromised by non-state actors who operate confidently with reckless abandon and little decency and respect for human life.

Keywords: Herders-Farmers conflict, Banditry, Ethic nationalities, Small arms, Security challenges, and Criminality.

DOI: 10.7176/RHSS/10-17-04

Publication date:October 31st 2020

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