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ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF FULANI HERDSMEN-FARMERS CLASHES IN NIGERIA
Abstract: The objective of this paper is to examine the economic cost of Fulani-Farmers Clashes on the populace in general and the nation’s economy in particular. This is because insecurity and its various multifaceted manifestations like bombings, cattle rustling, farmland destruction, kidnapping/hostage taking, destruction of life and property, creation of fear among others has become a hydra headed monster which security agents in Nigeria appear incapable of addressing. Bloody clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers over grazing lands have led to the killing or maiming of people and razing down of houses as well as food storage facilities. The herdsmen claimed that they are the original owners of the land in the agrarian areas. According to them, the natives had sold it to them for their cows to graze. This is an allegation the farmers have consistently debunked, saying that the land was never at any instance sold to the herdsmen and that the cows damage their crops while grazing. Cattle-rustling has also been a major cause of unrest as cows are stolen by criminal-minded youths. This scenario has played out many times in Guma, Makurdi, Gwer West, Agatu, Logo, Kwande, Buruku and parts of Kastina-Ala local government areas of Benue State. The same is common in Enugu, Delta, Taraba and Plateau states. This paper takes a look the economic effects of these conflicts by identifying the remote causes and possible solutions to the challenge. The theory of Human needs served as our framework of analysis while documentary methods of analysis and content analysis were used to generate and analyze data. The study revealed that this pattern of insecurity challenge is detrimental to general well being of the people with its resultant effects in the area low quality of life, food insecurity, high cost of food, population displacement and even death, the destruction of business, properties and equipments, relocation and closing down of businesses. The study suggests that the Nigerian government and her security agencies should be pro-active in their responses, improve their intelligence gathering techniques and peace building and equip and motivate her security forces better.
Key words: Insecurity, Cattle-rustling, Fulani- Farmers Clashes, Human Needs Theory and Nigeria.