This study examines rural violence in north central Nigeria with experience from nomadic herdsmen and rural farmers. The objective of the study is to deepen knowledge on dynamics of rural violence by identifying and analyzing prevalence of the rural violence , as well as its impact on rural farmers and food crop production. In particular, the study seeks to identify possible efforts by the Nigerian government to mitigate the violent attacks. The study builds on relative deprivation theory and relational content analysis (RCA) methodology for qualitative data analysis. Direct field data from six (6) Local Government Areas (LGAs) in two States of the North Central Nigeria namely Nassarawa and Benue States were collected between the period January 2007 and September 2018.A mapping of comparative qualitative data on staple crop production from FAO Stats was conducted to determine decline in food crop production from 2007 to 2017. Additional authoritative data were generated from the National Bureau on Statistics (NBS) and Crisis Group International 2017. Findings show that herders attacks had taken complex and incendiary dimensions resulting in rural livelihoods vulnerability, destruction of food crops, systemic disempowerment of the rural farmers and decline in food crop production. In the alternative, recommendations including vulnerability mitigation strategies were made.
Keywords: Rural Violence, herdsmen, livelihoods Vulnerability, Rural Development, Nigeria.