Nomadic Pastoralism and Human Security: Towards a Collective Action against Herders-Farmers Crisis in Nigeria

Land use is a fundamental agrarian question which remains central to the economic survival of humanity, especially in Africa. The limited access to land in most African social formations has engendered a fierce competition between non-agricultural user groups and their agricultural counterparts, on the one hand, and among various agricultural user groups, on the other. The two major groups of agricultural land users are nomadic pastoralists and sedentary peasant farmers. As a predominantly agrarian nation, more than half of Nigeria’s workforce is engaged in farming. Nonetheless, the internecine conflict between these two groups of agro-land users, which continues to acquire ethnic, religious and political tinge, has grave implications for human security in the country. Explanation of the conflict between nomadic pastoralists and sedentary farmers has centred on climate change, population growth, and insecurity. However, the transnational character of this conflict has not received adequate scholarly attention. Despite the existence of regional frameworks like the ECOWAS Transhumance Protocol, there is a dearth of knowledge on how these regional efforts could be leveraged by the Nigerian government in order to contain the harmful impacts of transhumant pastoralism in the country. Using the regional security complex theory, this paper argues that networking of relevant security agencies, regional bodies and other stakeholders, including civil society organisations, is the panacea for tackling the tension-soaked relationship between these land users.