African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 197

Article in Press

Farmer-Herder conflict in western Sahel of Africa: Historical Perspective of Nigeria

Ayodeji Bolarinwa Akeju

  •  Received: 08 December 2021
  •  Accepted: 14 February 2023
This paper explored the relevance of pre and colonial periods land management practices in proffering solutions to the constant violent conflicts between farmers and pastoralists (herder) in the western Sahel of Africa, particularly Nigeria. The study examined historical accounts and documents on crop farmers' and herdsmen's lifestyles and coping strategies to land use changes, climate change, and social pressure drivers and how they changed with time. Today’s conflicts between these two groups are related to property rights grounded in the current policies and implementation strategies. Recent disputes arising from the competition have carried ethnic and religious undertones, but this assumption overlooks structural changes to land management and cultural systems. The introduction of laws and policies, changing the traditional land use practices in support of urbanization enforced sedentary herding and discouraged the traditional grazing route system. The herders have passed the traditional grazing route system down many generations and have thus maintained the age-long tradition. Traditional institutions remain significant – they managed the cooperation and competition between these groups for decades. Incorporating the traditionally practiced communal land use structure with the present government-controlled land and property rights structure will go a long way in reducing the farmer-herder conflict in the West African region. Hopefully, accounts of farmer-herder relationships recorded in this work will make a meaningful contribution to finding a lasting solution to the ongoing conflicts.

Keywords: Farmer; Herders; Conflicts; Land-use