THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 17, No. 2, November 2019
Demography of Conflict and the Herders-Farmers Crisis in Nigeria
Emmanuel Nwakanma1, Stanley Ebitare Boroh2
1Department of Sociology, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria
2Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa, Nigeria
The worsening violence between Farmers and Nomadic herdsmen in Nigeria has remained an issue of concern on the laundry list of the Nigerian State, policy makers, security agencies, International bodies as well as Social science scholars. While conflict is considered a normal and inevitable outcome of human relationships, the concern here is the devastating socio-economic, political and environmental implications of the conflict between these two livelihood groups as well as its impact on national development. Whereas a number of factors have been adduced for this growing violence ranging from climatic transformations, deteriorating environmental conditions, desertification, soil degradation; political and ethnic strife; breakdown in traditional conflict resolution mechanisms; proliferation of arms in the country and a dysfunctional legal regime that neglects justice; this paper, relying on the demographic theory of conflict, demonstrates how population overshoot in Nigeria explicate the new violent and widespread dimensions of the Farmers-Herders conflict. This paper, relying on the Demographic theory of conflict, argues that among the various causes of the Farmers-Herders conflict, the exponential growth of Nigeria’s population and the inability of the Nigerian State to meet the needs of the populace, contributes to the endless contest for space and property in the country, referred to in this paper as ‘population induced warfare’. In line with this thesis, this paper recommends that Nigeria as a country should begin to pay serious attention to the costs and impacts of population growth and create accordingly, rights-based population policies that adapts Nigeria’s population strength to a positive force for sustainable development.
Keywords: Conflict, demography, herders–farmers crisis, population, sustainable development