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Nigerian pastoralist conflicts likely to intensify

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Subject

Nigeria's pastoralist conflicts.

Significance

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration earlier this month suspended the Rural Grazing Area (Ruga) plan, which would allocate land access to herders in some north-central ‘Middle Belt’ and southern states, amid massive popular pushback. The federal government has long held out hope that providing access to ranching land and the creation of ‘cattle colonies’ could defuse pastoralist conflicts and revitalise the cattle industry, but this latest plan has foundered against a wave of religious and ethnic resentment and deep mistrust.

Impacts

  • Rising political conflict around pastoralism will be compounded by Buhari’s governance and security failures.
  • Ethno-religious and ethno-regional groups opposed to Ruga will continue to stoke fear, raising the risk of worsening clashes nationwide.
  • Despite international support for revitalising the livestock industry, a greater focus will remain on combatting regional jihadist threats.
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