Climate change, pastoral migration, resource governance and security: the Grazing Bill solution to farmer-herder conflict in Nigeria

  • Received July 6, 2017;
    Accepted August 2, 2017;
    Published September 11, 2017
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  • Article Info
    Volume 8 2017, Issue #3, pp. 35-45
  • Cited by
    13 articles

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Violent conflict between native communities and migrant herdsmen is one of Nigeria’s most ubiquitous security challenges in the age of climate change. It accounts for an increasing number of human and material losses which is not only surpassed by the country’s ongoing counter-insurgency, but also threatens unity among its regions. It has therefore gained attention in the legislative arm of government. In response, lawmakers mainly of northern Nigeria extraction have proposed a Grazing Bill which seeks to expand and legalize nationwide access to grazing land for pastoral farmers in defiance to agitation in host communities for legislative protection. A cardinal principle of federalism is the premium placed on preservation of local interests that are peculiar to component units while harnessing strength in areas of concerns common to federating units. Against the backdrop of Nigeria’s federal system and its social, ecological and historical diversity, this paper examines the implications of the proposed Grazing Bill for managing farmer-herder conflict. It argues that frameworks which downplay the country’s diversity will further aggravate conflicts and insecurity in the fragile federation. The paper therefore advocates for sedentary system of cattle ranching.

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