THE GREAT GREEN WALL PROJECT, FARMERS AND HERDERS CONFLICT IN KWARA STATE, NIGERIA
Climate change has been at the heart of desertification in Sub-Saharan Africa. One of such migrant groups affected by the menace are the herdsmen who are often in constant clash with their host communities especially farmers in terms of resource use; paramount amongst which is land. Consequently, in response to the challenge posed by massive desertification in Africa combined with the inherent socio-economic disadvantages the menace carries, the African Union (AU) initiated the Great Green Wall Program (GGWP) in 2007 aimed at creating a green wall across Africa from the West to the East with the view of regenerating the area and ensuring the livelihoods of the locals therein are secured. Nonetheless, nine years after its creation, the program has not seen meaningful impact in some areas, which has furthered the cause of climate induced conflict in Nigeria. Thus, this study was focused on investigating the performance of the Great Green Wall Project in relation to its expected usefulness in curbing farmers/herders conflict in Kwara State, Nigeria.
In order to achieve the research objective, the survey research design was adopted for the study. The primary and secondary sources of data collection were used in this research work. The primary source of data was generated from farmers, herdsmen, members of staff of Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Nigeria Immigration Service and National Agency for the Great Green Wall via interview while the secondary source of data includes relevant text books, journals, publications, seminar papers, newspaper articles and other relevant materials. The primary data was content analysed.
The study revealed that though the National Agency for the Great Green Wall has put in place various programmes to correct the menace of desertification, the agency need to urgently extend its programmes way beyond the 11 frontier states mostly hit by the effects of desertification. The inclusion of all states of the federation in its programs will help ameliorate and reduce constant clashes being witnessed nationwide especially in Kwara state as it will help reduce the migratory tendencies of herders.
The study concluded by pinpointing the need for greater security at Nigeria’s loose borders especially in the North in order to combat the problem of foreign unchecked herders straying into the country; and the need for constant communication and understanding between herders, farmers and local communities. There is also the need to incorporate the tool of conflict prevention in the management of conflict between herders and farmers in order to reduce constant clashes, improve security at Nigeria’s borders, maintain existing grazing reserves and educate farmers and herders on coping techniques to conflict. Thus, the thrust of this study is to investigate the Great Green Wall Programme in light of its expected usefulness in curbing farmer and herder conflicts in Kwara state, Nigeria.
Keywords: Conflict, Climate Change, Desertification, Farmers, Herdsmen, Desert Encroachment, Global Warming, African Union, Great Green Wall Project.