“If you kill me, you take the cow”: victimization experiences of farming and herding communities in Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Published date03 October 2019
Date03 October 2019
AuthorOludayo Tade,Yikwab Peter Yikwabs
Subject MatterHealth & social care
If you kill me, you take the cow:
victimization experiences of farming
and herding communities in Nasarawa
State, Nigeria
Oludayo Tade and Yikwab Peter Yikwabs
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the victimization experiences of farming and herding
communities in Nasarawa State, Nigeria.
Design/methodology/approach The study employed purposive sampling, extracting data from 27
victims in Lafia and Obi local government areas. Data were collected using in-depth and key informant
interviews. In a balance of tales, both farming and herding communities claimed victimhood status.
Findings While farming communities suffered internal displacement resulting from destruction of farmland,
forceful takeover of own community, destruction of livelihoods and human fatalities; herding community
victimization manifested in destruction of livelihood (killing of cows), cattle rustling and human fatalities. Arising
from the findings, the authors suggest proactive policing and victim compensation to reduce the incidence
and severity of victimization.
Originality/value The study is unique as it probed into the neglected domain of victimization experiences
of farming and herding communities.
Keywords Violence, Conflict, Victimization, Peace, Internal displacement, Resource conflict
Paper type Research paper
The conflict between farmers and herders is almost ubiquitous in most parts of West Africa
(Tonah, 2006) with increasing intensity of the confrontations leading to loss of hundreds of lives in
Nigeria in 2018 (Tade, 2018). According to Tade (2018), there is no geopolitical zone in Nigeria
that is yet to record such attacks resulting in destruction of land, raping of women, killings and
burning of houses. In 2016 alone, over 2,000 people were killed and tens of thousands displaced
in Benue and Kaduna states (International Crisis Group, 2017). Available records show that
between 2010 and 2015, Nigeria lost 6,500 citizens and 62,000 others were displaced from their
homelands in 850 recorded violent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the Middle Belt
region of the country (New Telegraph, 2017). With an estimated 2,500 deaths in 2016, these
clashes are becoming as lethal as the Boko Haram phenomenon (International Crisis Group,
2017; Tade and Nwanosike, 2016).
Studies on farmer-herder conflicts have focused on the triggers such as climate change and
relative deprivation (Olaniyan et al., 2015); eco-politics (Blench, 2003), eco-violence (Okoli and
Atelhe, 2014; Muhammed et al., 2015) and climate change (Odoh and Chigozie, 2012; Abbass,
2012). A recent attempt by Kwaja and Ademola-Adelehin (2017) probed, albeit, tangentially on
the consequences of the anti-open grazing law. They examined the potential effects and legal
implications of the law. Despite these studies, very little is known about victimsexperiences and
its importance for policy formulation, implementation and other forms of intervention. Hence, this
Received 10 June 2019
Revised 10 September 2019
Accepted 25 September 2019
The authors would like to thank
Dr Oluwatosin Adeniyi for
providing editorial assistance for
the paper. The authors are also
grateful to the two anonymous
reviewers for their fantastic
contributions which have improved
the quality of this paper.
Oludayo Tade and Yikwab
Peter Yikwabs are both based
at the Department of
Sociology, University of Ibadan,
Ibadan, Nigeria.
DOI 10.1108/JACPR-06-2019-0417 VOL. 11 NO. 4 2019, pp.273-280, © Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 1759-6599

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