In the last five years, solving herder-farmer crisis and kidnapping remains a huge task for the state and the federal governments. On several occasions, stakeholders meeting and various community conversations have been held. The outcomes have remained mixed. Peace continues to elude people, especially those living in the rural areas across the country. In some locations, peace is being enjoined once a while. In the South region, Oyo, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Ogun, Ekiti and Ondo States have had the largest share of the outcomes of the crisis and kidnapping. People have been killed and raped, according to a number of sources.
In Oyo state, Oke-Ogun area, especially Ibarapa Local Government, has been the hotbed of the crisis and kidnapping. This is largely due to the agrarian nature of the region, which has huge potential for herdsmen. With the good hospitality usually extends to foreigners by the people of the region, one would expect that both the indigenes and herdsmen live in peace.
Nigerian Government Needs to Pay Attention to These Issues for Sustainable End to Herders-Farmers Conflict
In a recent study, researchers note that the farmers-herdsmen conflict in the region is being stimulated by multi-causal factors which majorly includes limited resources in face of greater need, reprise attack and shortage of pasture lands even climate change among others. In another study “scarce dividends of democracy are distributed to the exclusion of the Fulani due to their status as settlers. The Fulani feel cheated of their rights, even though they vote responsibly during elections. The host communities feel the Fulani are not entitled to the dividends of democracy because they are settlers and thus should return to their homeland. This has promoted division between the settlers and indigenes despite them living side by side.”
In Fashola community, a study indicates that crop-livestock farmers are using tolerance and compensation as coping strategies. The study reveals that when livestock destroyed farms, pastoralists compensate the farmers. This is being done for peaceful co-existence.
Our analyst notes that adoption of these results and others from academic and applied researches conducted in the last five years would have helped the governments and other stakeholders in solving the crisis and end kidnapping. The failure to take decisive actions led to the emergency of a Sunday Igboho, a Yoruba activist recently. Within the few days of his eviction notice to a Fulani community in Igangan [a town in Oke-Ogun region], he became prominent and people see him as the right person who can eliminate the pains and agonies associated with killing and kidnapping in South West region.
Analysis shows that Sunday Igboho was searched and understood through a number of information on the Internet between January 16 to January 23, 2021. The interest about him was high among the people in the Southern region than other regions in the country. Our analysis reveals that the higher the interest in knowing him, the lower people developed interest in Fulani, kidnapping, killing. This is quite different from their interest in him and herdsmen.
Analysis establishes a 48% interest in herdsmen when they developed interest in him by 1%. Our predictive analysis indicates that 65.8% of the people’s interest in Sunday Igboho could be explained from their interest in Fulani. It was 54.5% in kidnapping, 1.5% in killing and 65.4% in herdsmen.
Exhibit 1: Public Interest in 7 Days
Exhibit 2: Public Interest per State and Capital Territory in 7 Days
Exhibit 3: Public Interest in South-Western States
There is no doubt the emergence of Sunday Igboho has added a new basis of resolving the conflict and ending kidnapping in Nigeria. It has shown that people would hardly wait for government security agencies to protect them and their property. It has also indicated that people can voice out when security issues reach a high proportion with the tendency of having severe impacts on socioeconomic activities and development. Despite the relevance of Igboho’s action to the people of Ibarapa and Igangan in particular, government stakeholders need to be assertive and decisive in their approaches to security issues. Paying lip service to the insecurity would continue to create Igbohos across the country.