Pastoralism in Nigeria’s Middle-Belt Region: A Resource or a Curse (Published)
The Fulani, listed among the major pastoralist groups in Africa, are the group most noted for pastoralist activities in Nigeria. Today they have come to be recognized, not only as transitional groups, but as ‘settler’ groups that constitute parts of the wider society inhabiting sizeable portions of the rural hinterlands in various states of the federation. The highlights here are on their evolution and metamorphosis from mere pastoralists to a people whose activities have come to weigh heavily on the eco-social equilibrium of the nation with regard to political stability, social harmony, human security and environmental sustainability. The postulations of the pattern- and process-oriented approaches to pastoralist behaviour and the economic defendability theory provide a nexus between the ideal pastoral behavior and the realities with regard to the pastoralist-farmer relations in the region. They also provide a framework for the analysis and proffering of strategies in addition to those gleaned from a combination of best practices from around sub-Saharan African countries. The containment of contemporary pastoralist behavior in Nigeria is made more expedient in the light of the realities of heightening ethno-religious tensions, indigene-settler distrust and the threats which the activities of the Fulani pastoralists portend for human and food security in Nigeria’s Middle-Belt region with focus on Plateau, Benue and Kaduna States.
Keywords: Ethno-Religious Tensions, Human Security, Nigeria’s Middle-Belt Region, Pastoralist Behaviour, Socio-Political Stability.