ISSUES | Kaduna: Farmer–Fulani Fracas And The Need For Technology-Driven Peace – By Murtala A. Mohammed
By Murtala Adogi Mohammed
Getting it right in crisis response and conflicts related information management requires the application of modern days technology such as satellites and Geographic Information Systems GIS for analysis and reporting. I’m a firm believer in the huge potential of technology driven information and communication strategy as a means through which to improve crisis response, managing early warning signals and post conflict peace building. If properly managed, it would provide access to critical, real time information for crucial decision-making in crisis situation.
Kaduna state, the former capital of northern Nigeria, has from 1982, witnessed series of violent conflicts with some lasting several days leading to loss of lives with property worth millions of Naira destroyed. These conflicts are traceable to historical grievances bordering on ethno-religious factors, politico-economic struggles over limited resources and access to power, mismanagement of resources and massive unemployment, which continually provoked violent crisis in the last three decades such as the Kasuwan Magani riots of 1982.
Other such conflicts include the Zagon Kataf crisis, which was ignited by a controversy surrounding a local market between the Hausa and the Kataf. There was also the Kafanchan College of Education Muslim-Christian riots; Kaduna Polytechnic Muslim-Christian skirmishes (1981). In1999, the Christian population in Jema’a rejected the installation of a first class chieftaincy title to the Hausa/Fulani emirate council, sparking off a violent confrontation, which has come to be known in history as Jemaá Emirate Tussle.
One of the drivers of conflict in Southern Kaduna SK is farmer-fulani conflict over decline and marginal natural resources. For many years, the federal and state governments have established various committees of inquiries with the aim of addressing the causes of lingering farmer – Fulani conflicts. So far, the government effort has only achieved negligible results.
However, some of the key stakeholders in the affected communities identified lack of synergy and coordination between different institutions of government at all levels, lack of political will in the implementation of inquiry recommendations and ineffective managed early warning system as the main reasons why these crisis persevered.
In southern Kaduna, struggle over the control of economically viable lands cause more tensions and violent conflicts among communities. As Pastoralists and farmers have coexisted for a long time, the complexities over the land-use system have dramatically changed, thus become the dependent variable in conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.
Demographically, it has been observed that, as the population grows, more land is being cultivated and less is available for posture; forcing Fulani to migrate and trample on crops cultivated by farmers, which results in confrontations and conflict.
In order to develop an effective, efficient and acceptable system for managing these conflicts, there is the need to entrench sincere commitment, transparency, open communication and accountability in the process of resolving conflict between farmers and Fulani.
In promoting peaceful coexistence among the farmers and Fulani in agrarian community of Kaduna state, there is need to have a good understanding of the peculiarities of the 3 geopolitical zones in the state. For instance, the ‘Southern Kaduna’ is mostly inhabited by indigenous Christian communities, and in comparison to zones one and two, it has a fertile environment for cultivation and food production. Over the years, thousands of migrants and businessmen, including herdsmen and pastoralists have migrated to the southern zone, looking for greener pastures and a better environment for cultivation.
The continuing Fulani Pastoralists’ violence for the survival of their cattle makes fierce struggle and violent conflicts with farmers inevitable. However, something need to be done in order to shift the paradigm. For instance, for better coordination and management there is need for the state to map-out how many ‘Rugga’ (Fulani settlements) are in the state according to the 3 geopolitical zones – establish local and zonal grazing lands – the ‘Rugga Census’ should be done annually for the sake of having a clear pictures of trends in population and locations.
Secondly, the state need to establish Technology-Driven Peace Situation Room – TDPSR, the room should be managed independently by neutral body deploy the use of modern technology for reporting system and management of information with GPRS/GIS from the affected and vulnerable communities – sending early warning signals to the central coordinating unit of the (PSR) for further immediate action. This is necessary, this is 2017 not 1987….The world is moving fast, let’s move together.
The challenge of some of the previous initiative faced in bringing an end to farmer-Fulani conflict was lack of synergy and coordination between different institutions of government at all levels and lack of political will in developing strategic framework in understanding and mitigating different types of conflicts between the Fulani pastoralists and farmers in Northern Nigeria, It must be stressed too that conflicts on access and control of natural resources varies in form and intensity from one community to another just as other social and economic factors continue to provoke violent conflicts among the Fulani pastoralists and farmers.
As Farmers continuously encroach into the grazing routes, they leave the Fulani with no alternative to either retreat or surrender. However, partnership and inclusiveness is a source of strength in peace building and conflict transformation. Community member’s openness and commitment to jointly discuss problems of common interest and develop action plans towards resolving conflict is paramount.
In supporting communities to tolerably address their security concerns and resolve conflicts passion and interest of community members is an asset in peace building initiative and it ensure sustainability of the initiative.
Murtala Adogi Mohammed can be contacted via [email protected]
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