The Community Peace and Safety Partnership (CPSP) in Gubio LGA of Borno state has helped resolve a perennial conflict between farmers and herders. The Gubio CPSP is facilitated by the Yelwa Community Circle, with support from the Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Programme.
A report presented at the Civilian Joint Task Force meeting in August 2019 hinted at community concerns about the potential for violence between farmers and herders during the approaching harvest season. Attacks by farmers and reprisal attacks by herders in previous years had led to loss of life and property with many women and children displaced. The lack of clearly demarcated cattle grazing routes in the area and the consequent encroachment onto farmlands by cattle were at the root of the problem.
The CPSP formed a committee to facilitate dialogue between the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and the Farmers Association. Meetings were held during which farmers and herders were encouraged to exercise restraint and seek non-violent resolution in cases of encroachment and destruction of farmland and livestock.
An incident of encroachment and destruction of crops, which occurred during the intervention, became a test case for the dialogue process. The Committee facilitated the mediation process and the leaders of farmers and herders’ groups settled the dispute. The accused herder whose cattle destroyed crops voluntarily apologised to the aggrieved farmer whose crop were destroyed. He also accepted to pay compensation as agreed during the mediation.
Following the resolution of this case, the CPSP platform engaged the leaders of the farmers and herders’ groups to adopt measures to sustain the presence of the mediation process. This led to the leaders signing an agreement that included the following provisions:
- Farmers will not kill cattle that destroy crops
- Herders will promptly pay compensation for crops destroyed
- Herders will stop using underaged children to rear their cattle
- Herders will stop cattle grazing in the hours of the night
Feedback from community members indicate that both groups are complying with the terms of the agreement. This is leading to reduced tensions in the area.
‘I apologise to farmers whose crops have been destroyed due to grazing. I promise that we will abide by the terms of the agreement and there will be no more trespass into farmlands.’ Kadai Fulata, Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Gubio LGA, Borno state