1 Respondents by gender distribution 31
2 Respondents by age distribution 32
3 Respondents by marital status 33
4 Educational status of farmers and herdsmen in Kwara State 34
5 Annual income of farmers and herdsmen in Kwara State 34
- Background to the Study
Climate change, long-term transmutation in the earth’s climate, especially a transmutation due to an expansion in the normal barometrical temperature, is not an incipient phenomenon. Most of these climate changes are attributed to minutely diminutive variations in Earth’s orbit that transmute the amount of solar energy our planet receives (Peterson et. al, 2009). The present warming pattern is of particular consequence on the grounds that the greater part of it is likely human-incited and continuing at a rate that is phenomenal in the past 1,300 years (Allison et.al, 2009). Most climate scientists accede the main cause of the current warming trend is human expansion of the “greenhouse effect”, warming that result when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space (Naomi, 2004). A more vigorous greenhouse effect will warm the oceans and partially melt glaciers and other frozen di-hydrogen monoxide, thus creating an astonishing increase in sea level (Church et.al, 2006). Gradually, the warming of air temperatures cause drought conditions and avert the sustained development of vegetation. This, combined with human activity of chopping down trees, overgrazing and the clearing of land for agribusiness, leads to continual desertification witnessed in specific regions.
Desertification is a form of land degradation by which land becomes more arid (Arnalds, 2000). It generally refers to “the procedure of fruitful land changing into desert typically as a result of deforestation, drought, or incongruous methods of farming” (Reynolds, 2001). This process more often than not brings about the desertified land losing its vegetation, water bodies (lakes, streams), and wildlife. Desertification causes abstraction of nutrients from the soil, making land infertile and unusable for cultivation. With this process, the world looses about 12 million hectares of productive land yearly. due to desertification and drought alone (Veron et.al, 2006). Desertification is a noteworthy issue over the world, most remarkably in dryland zones (counting vast zones in Africa, for example, the Sahel).
About 40% of Earth’s land is covered by drylands, and these areas are home to over 2 billion people (Idris et al, 2011). However, while climate change and desertification can frequently go as an inseparable unit, each one able to exacerbate the other, the part these two components play in migration is starting to gain increased global attention. With the current progression of the world’s deserts, there may soon be few places for environmentally displaced persons to go (Neely et.al, 2009). Geometric increase in human population in drylands has led to reduction in soil quality and thus increased the pressure to migrate due to unpredictable rainfall patterns leading to frequent drought (Bassett et.al, 2003; Coughenour, 2008). Such migrations, often caused by depleted means of livelihood bring the migrants into constant clashes with the local population especially over use of resources, especially land. The movement of dry land inhabitants into the hinterland has led to conflict over scarce resources in terms of land use and management especially between farmers and herdsmen (Amadiet.al, 2011). As is with the case in Nigeria, the effects of desertification, in mostly the northernmost parts, have necessitated the migration of herdsmen southward in search of greener pastures for their cattle. The consequent foray of cattle into local farms in these areas has continually led to clashes between farmers and migrating herders (Olabode&Ajibade, 2011). Strife between farmers and herdsmen for the utilization of agricultural land is becoming fierce and increasingly wide spread in Nigeria largely due to production activities that are necessitated by increasing human population.
In light of this, it is pertinent to note the heterogeneous nature of Nigeria with its multiplicity of ethnicities and possibilities of conflict triggers in form of ethnic clashes emanating from resource use. One feature which has distinguished Kwara State, the case study for this research, is the prevailing peace and harmony despite the multiplicity of tribes and cultures. The state is described as a microcosm of Nigeria. It is a home to the Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, Nupe, Bariba, among others. All these tribes have, from years immemorial, co-existed peacefully and harmoniously with less friction. The presence of the varied ethnicities is typified in its sobriquet as the State of Harmony to depict the influx of people from all parts of the country settling down to relish the peace in the state.
However, the recent spate of attacks by Fulani herdsmen and farmers casts a dark shadow on the existing harmony in the state. Though the problem of farmers/herders clash has been a recurring decimal in Nigeria, Kwara State has had its fair taste of the crisis. Recently, the clashes have been getting bloodier. In 2015, according to (Abdullateef, 2015), there was a huge confrontation between herdsmen of Fulani descent and native farmers. The conflict started from Asa Local Government in Kwara Central Senatorial District and spread to communities in Kwara South Senatorial District: Oro-Ago in Ifelodun Local Government and Eruku in Irepodun Local Government. Prominent among the causes of the conflict, apart from the straying of cattle into farmlands and reprisal attacks, is the failure of the herdsmen to abide by extant rules which forbad bringing weapons to the market. Conflict emanated during the struggle by the local vigilante to seize the said weapons from the herdsmen. The result of the conflict was the death of eight townsmen according to the traditional ruler of Eruku, HRH Oba BusariOlarewaju, who also stated that the community has been experiencing Fulani/Bororo attack for the past 10 years. This highlights not just the need for grazing options in hitherto reported conflicts but adds a new dimension in terms of the importance of understanding and mutual co-habitation between herders and their host communities.