ANALYSING AND MANAGING POTENTIAL
CASE STUDY: FADAMA PROJECT IN
AJUWON S. S.
Conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties
who perceived incomplete goals, scarce resources and interference from
other parties in achieving their goals. Conflict is therefore the result of
differences, not the cause of them (Peter Block).
Conflict over natural resources such as land, water and forests is ubiquitous
(Anderson et al, 1996; Ayling and Kelly 1997; Ortiz 1999). People everywhere
have competed for the natural resources they need or want to ensure or
enhance their livelihoods. However, the dimensions, level and intensity of
conflict vary greatly. Conflicts over natural resources may have class
dimensions, pitting those who own the resource against those who own
nothing but whose work makes the resource productive (Chenier et al 2004).
This is truism of Fadama project.
It is noted that Conflict management mechanism in the use of Common
Property Resource is not effectively implemented by the responsible
authorities and this has been a source of continuous conflict among
stakeholders. This has in effect undermined the efforts of government in
implementing rural development initiatives for improved productivity in a
sustainable way. Consequently. One area of focus under Fadama II is to
improve conflict management mechanism in order to raise rural productivity
To ensure casualty free environment, conflict should be managed at the
potential or emergence level before it degenerates to escalation stage or
TYPES OF CONFLICT
Below are the types of conflicts experienced one way or the other in our
society day by day:
(a) Relationship based conflict
(b) Information based conflict
(c) Structural based conflict
(d) Value based conflict and
(e) Interest based conflict
Our focus in this paper is the interest based conflict using Nigerian Fadama
Project as the case study.
National Fadama Development Project
“Fadama” is Hausa name for irrigable lands or flood plains and low-lying areas
underlined by shallow aquifers. They are found along Nigerian rivers. The
National Fadama Development Project phase one was implemented between
1992 and 1999 and was adjudged successful. This success has culminated in
the Federal Government of Nigeria requesting the World Bank for the
preparation of the second phase of Fadama project. The objective of the
second phase is to sustainably increase the incomes of fadama users ---
those who depend directly or indirectly on fadama resources (farmers,
pastoralists, fisherfolk/fishermen, hunters, gatherers and service providers) –
through empowering communities to take charge of their own development
agenda and by reducing conflict among fadama resource users.
In the past, fadama farming was not common in West Africa, they were mainly
used for grazing and fishing but as human population increased during the
20th century, a greater use of fadama for food production become inevitable.
As farmers take up more of the river – bank for farming, they come into
conflict with the other users, especially the pastoralist and fisherfolk, whereas
the pastoralists have been coming to the river for many years to feed their
animals with grasses. When they arrive and find the grazing field covered by
tomatoes and other crops they become very angry. On the other hand, the
farmers who are often desperate to feed their families during the dry season
regard the herders as dangerous and intrusive. Too often there are fights and
people are sometimes killed, properties lost, etc.
Lesson Learnt Under Fadama-I
During the implementation of Fadama-I some lessons learned with respect to
conflict situation include: crop encroachment, impeded passage of stock
routes and fadama feed resources of pastoralists. These led to sporadic
outbreaks of conflict in a few areas partly because the project failed to take
into account the interest, and concerns of the other resource users of fadama
space other than that of the farmers. Consequently under Fadama-II, the
government is now committed to fostering active participation of all key
stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of conflict management
interventions at the community level.
TYPES O F POTENTIAL CONFLICTS IN THE FADAMA COMMUNITIES
The types of conflicts faced in fadama communities vary from one community
to another depending on the type of user groups being found in the fadama
communities. However, the conflicts can be classified under three major
1. Conflict within community over access rights
2. Conflict between communities over access rights
3. Citizen versus the authorities
1) Conflict within community over access rights
q) Farmer-farmer : The farmers in question claim land for fadama farming.
One is taking off water upstream for irrigation and thereby impeding the flow
of water to the farmer downstream preventing him from fadama farming
activities. This may lead to conflict between the two farmers.
b) Fisher-Fisher: Setting of dumbe nets or using other illegal techniques to
catch fish or stealing of fish from individually owned ponds within the fadama
creates conflicts between fishermen.
c) Herder –Herder: The agro-pastoralist/semi-nomadic pastoralist
and nomadic pastoralists compete for grazing when dry season is severe and
pasture is insufficient.
2) Conflict between Communities over Access Right
a) Farmer-Pastoralist: Cattle may enter farm land and eat crops or graze
crop residue without the permission of the farmer. Farmers may also cultivate
across stock routes or riverine grazing area thereby disturbing the passage of
cattle to grazing reserve or field.
b) Fisher-Pastoralist: Herders destroy fishing gear in the pond in the fadama
area. Fisherfolk also block livestock river crossing places.
c) Pastoralist-migrant gatherers: Pastoralist cut browse for feeding animals
to the detriment of the gatherers and this results in minor conflict between
d) Pastoralist – Bee keepers: Pastoralists destroy bee colonies to avoid bee
stings on their animals and themselves and the bee keepers fight back to
defend their means of livelihood.
3) Citizen versus the authorities
a) Gatherers seek wild resources (potash, fuelwood,etc.) in National parks
b) Farmers take water from the main channels
c) Authorities take off water upstream and cut off water from farmers
d) Hunters poach birds and animals in National park
e) Fishermen fish in National parks
f) Pastoralists go into National Parks or reserves to graze or browse
The degree of conflict between these different resources users ranges
from insignificant to extremely tense but conflict between pastoralists and
farmers far outweighs all other types of resource conflict in frequency and
CAUSES OF POTENTIAL CONFLICT IN THE FADAMA COMMUNITIES
The following were identified as some of the causes of conflicts in the fadama
(1) Land tenure and land use practices.
Land is traditionally held on a collective basis. It was therefore
used by communities and individuals on first-come first-served
by virtue of being a member of the community. On this premise,
the use of fadama was not based on ownership and some
fadama areas were even reserved for use by the pastoralists
who would spontaneously settle on them and utilise the fadama
resources. However, over the years, there had been a complex
interaction between ownership rights and use rights. In most
States, increasing pressure on land has decreased the
importance of communal rights but enhanced the significance of
individual ownership of land.
Nevertheless, the pastoralists continue to regard land, pasture
and water as God-given free resources to which they should
have unlimited access. The constraints inherent in the differing
perception of land by farmers and pastoralists therefore tend to
be a major source of conflict.
(2) Non-observation of rules and regulations.
Both farmers and pastoralists flout the dry season farming and
grazing rules. Some farmers deliberately leave part of their
harvest on the farm to lure pastoralists in attempt to get
compensation that would be more than the actual worth of the
crops. Some pastoralists also are no longer paying the
traditional homage or inform local rulers when they arrive the
village. In some cases also the authority of traditional rulers
have been eroded and rendered them ineffective.
(3) Inadequacy of the existing grazing reserves.
Due to population pressure on land, some grazing reserves
have been encroached for farming activities, land speculation for
building and government development intervention
(4) Poor State of the existing grazing reserves.
Virtually all the grazing reserves are poorly developed and bare
with little or no traces of fodder on them. This is principally due
to over-grazing, poor management and poor facilities.
Consequently, the pastoralists move downward to the middle
belt and Southern States for valuable sources of fodder in spite
of regular open clash with various communities and
(5) Blockage and reduction in size of stock routes.
In most States, stock routes have been blocked by the farmers,
individuals with buildings and government development
purposes to the detriment of the pastoralists, and watering
points for livestock are now converted to sources of irrigation
water to the discomfort of the pastoralists. This blockage of
local cattle routes leading to watering points and increased
activities in the fadama are major sources of conflict between
pastoralists and the farmers.
(6) Commercialisation of Crop residue.
Both agro-pastoralists and pastoralists intensively use crop
residues during the dry season. The commercialisation of these
crops residues now is a contributory factor to the conflict.
(7) Limited use of improved pasture and feeds.
Limited use is made of improved pasture and feeds due to non-
availability and knowledge of how to grow and manage
fodder/pasture, land tenure and the traditional preference for
(8) Poor land and soil conservation measures.
Desert encroachment and excessive salinity of the soil limit
livestock production potential in some areas. Also total cultivable
land is shrinking due to land degradation resulting from
deforestation, erosion, desertification, etc. These problems have
limited the areas of operations of the farmers and pastoralists
hence result in heightened conflict.
(9) Traditional beliefs and practices.
It is claimed that the pastoralists sometimes engage in
deliberate destruction of crops and properties because of the
belief that such acts are essential for stock growth/expansion
and household prosperity. Although bush burning is used by the
cultivators for various benefits, pastoralists see this as a
deliberate attempt by the farmers to deny their animals access
to pasture. Similarly, wood cutting for commercial purposes by
the sedentary people also reduces the quantities of fodder and
consequently irritates the pastoralists.
THE EFFECTS OF THE CONFLICTS ON THE COMMUNITIES
The effect of conflict on the communities is very serious. It has even led to
displacement of some communities. Some of the effects are enumerated
- death of farmers, pastoralists and other settlers.
- destructions of crops (field or harvested), irrigation facilities, and
heavy loss of properties and animals.
- feeling of insecurity and fear among farmers and pastoralists
every time the migration period arrives.
- inability to pay back fadama loans.
- reduction in productivity on both sides of farmers and
- alteration of the pattern of social relationships in the affected
communities and a considerable mutual distrust among the
various parties to the disputes: the farmers, pastoralists,
traditional rulers and government law enforcement agencies that
mediate in the disputes
There were various cases of conflict in both Northern and Southern NFDP
States in Nigeria. There is a significant variability in social, economic,
ecological parameters both within and between States. However, conflict is
usually greatest where populations are most dense and competition for
Fadama land highest, but the degree of severity defers from State to State.
The following are the experiences in some of the states during the
implementation of Fadama-I:
Case Study 1:Bauchi State
Bauchi State is one of the States that benefited from the National Fadama
Development Project– I. It lies within the North east pastoral corridor in
Between 1996 and 2002 there were 28 incidence of Farmer-Pastoralist
conflicts and also 4 cases of farmer-fishermen conflicts.
Because of these incessant conflicts especially farmer-pastoralists conflicts in
the State, the state government decided to set up a committee to look into
the matter. The observations of the committee are as indicated below:
Observations of the Committee
(1) Conflicts between the farmers and pastoralists have been occurring
almost annually in the last five decades.
(2) Before the advent of the aggressive Udawa and Bokoloji
pastoralists, conflicts were minor in scope and their occurrence
were minimised through the use of Fulani elders (jauro/ardo).
(3) The newly emerged militants pastoralists (Udawa and Bokoloji)
introduced a violent and fatal dimension to conflict.
(4) Unlike the other group, Udawa and Bokoloji do not pay traditional
homage or inform the local leaders when they arrive.
(5) The Udawa and Bokoloji pastoralists are young, militant, heavily
armed with guns and arrows; and
(6) Some local godfathers and bandits protect them.
Effect of the Conflict in the State
(1) Between 1994 and 2002, 28 villages were affected and recorded
loss of lives, crops, livestock and properties.
(2) Between 1995 and 2002, in 8 out of the 28 villages affected, it was
reported that 31 farmers, 66 pastoralists and 4 policemen were
killed. Also 44 farmers and 2 pastoralists were injured (Conflict
In addition to the above, there were burning of settlements, destruction of
irrigation facilities and fear of vengeance on both parties.
The prominent conflict–prone areas are communities located on the major
interstate livestock routes such as Gamawa, Zaki, Itas/Gadau, Jamare, Misau,
Kirfi and Kuddu Local Government Areas.
Case Study 2:Gombe State
It lies within the North east pastoral corridor in Nigeria.
There were 11 reported cases of Farmer-Pastoralist conflict between 1996
and 2002. The conflicts were more pronounced in the central and southern
senatorial districts of the State.
There are two broad groups of herdsmen in the State. They are
local/indigenous herdsmen and the Bokoloji and Udawa nomads. The former
live peacefully while the latter which arrives in the State between October and
January from Katsina or Niger/Chad are virulent. – This second group are
more prone to dispute with the farmers over farm produce and crop residues.
Causes of Conflict
- The major cause of conflict is the crisis in Chad.
- Miscreants under the disguise of Nigerian uniformed officials
(soldiers, immigration, police, custom, etc) come with
sophisticated weapon to steal cattle, money, etc.
- The conflict is also caused by non-development of grazing
reserves. Only 10% of the available grazing reserves are
functional and most of the land earmarked as grazing reserves,
stock routes and watering points for the pastoralists have been
encroached by the farmers.
Effect of the Conflict
Between 1997 and 2002 a woman was abducted for some days and another
had her hand amputated, 366 people were seriously injured, two herdsmen
were apprehended by the police, 20 people lost their lives, a number of cattle
were killed and some houses were burnt. Also some valuable were lost, rainy
season crops were prematurely harvested and there were delays in starting
dry season farming as a result of the conflicts.
Case Study 3: KOGI STATE
It lies within the North Central pastoral corridor in Nigeria.
The State has witnessed serious cases of conflicts, particularly between the
farmers and the pastoralists which led to loss of lives and properties. In some
instances due to seriousness of such conflicts , pastoralists were prevented
entry or forced out of some areas in the state. For instance in 2002,
pastoralists were driven out of Bassa Local Government Area after serious
encounter with the farmers. Between 1996 and 2002 forty nine (49) cases of
farmer-pastoralists conflicts were reported while there was only one (1) case
of pastoralist – fisherman conflict.
CAUSES OF CONFLICTS
Droughts and erratic rainfall patterns have reduced river flow in flood plains
and this has resulted in the concentration of crop and livestock production in
- For the Fulani pastoralists, upland grazing areas are in a poor state
and cannot support large number of livestock over time, hence they
move to the fadama in search of alternative pasture and watering
points, especially in the dry season.
- Development intervention in the state such as the NFDP have
encouraged expansion of cultivation into areas that were formerly left
fallow and used for livestock grazing.
EFFECT OF THE CONFLICT IN THE STATE.
Between 1996 and 2002, 27 persons were injured and 17 persons lost their
lives. Crops estimated at over N1m were reported damaged.
CASE STUDY 4: KEBBI STATE.
It lies within the North West pastoral corridor in Nigeria.
CAUSES OF CONFLICT
- The Fulani/herdsman/pastoralists view the NFDP as a threat to their
dry season grazing activities as the project is located in the fadama that
was hitherto meant for grazing purpose.
- Encroachment and the poor state of grazing reserves.
- The belief by the pastoralists that deliberate damage of crops will lead
to prosperity for them and their cattle that year.
EFFECT OF THE CONFLICT IN THE STATE.
There were losses of lives, properties, animals, farm produce and fadama
CASE STUDY 5 :IMO STATE
It lies within the South east of Nigeria.
Between 1996 and 2002, forty seven (47) farmer-pastoralist, twenty six (26)
farmer-fishermen, thirty (30) farmers-hunters and 29 pastoralist-fishermen
conflict cases were reported.
The conflict in Imo State is not particularly linked to flooded land by rivers.
There is high rainfall in the State and the riverine land provides a valuable
communal (free) resource, which is currently very much under-utilized
compared to upland, which may need to be leased.
Causes of Conflict
(1) Cultural differences between the communities and the herders, crop
damage, passing near settlements and attempting to settle on
fallow lands are part of the offences that could cause conflict.
(2) Major conflict occurs when communities raid and make away with
some cattle of the herders.
(3) Absence of stock routes leading to watering point and lack of
designated grazing areas.
Effect of the conflicts
- There were losses of lives, properties, animals and farm
produce. Between 1996 and 2002, nineteen (19) people died
and forty two (42) persons were injured. 191 animals valued at
N233,000 and crops worth over N334,000 were destroyed
during the conflict.
- The pastoralists live in fear of attacks on their cattle and
POTENTIAL CONFLICT MANAGEMENT MECHANISM
CURRENTLY IN PLACE AND THE NFDP II STRATEGY
Conflict Management Mechanism in place
Basically there are two categories of institution through which the people
manage potential conflicts in the fadama communities. These are (i)
Traditional authorities and (ii) Local and State governments.
In the rural setting, there is hierarchy of village elders, ward heads, village
heads and districts heads who intervene to resolve disputes. However, if the
dispute is very serious a more senior leader is involved in the settlement of
the problem. But the shortcoming with the traditional authorities is that their
interest in these matters varies from one village to another. Some respond
immediately by setting up court like procedures with witnesses, site inspection
and independent assessment of costs. Others make arbitrary judgements and
people occasionally accuse them of corruption.
There are some more forward looking village heads who have established
pre-emptive measures to forestall conflict e.g in Bauchi and Yobe States. This
measure is called Hospitality Committee.
Local and State governments
The two tiers of government have been of tremendous assistance in setting
up committees that see to the management of potential conflicts in their
Below are some strategies operating in some NFDP States
(1) Potential conflicts in the state are managed by Traditional
Ward/Village heads, District heads and Emirs or by the parties
(2) In some villages in the state, some village heads have established
what is called Hospitality Committee. These are local residents
appointed by the village head to go and meet with Fulani that are
coming into an area or who are setting up camp. Most of these are
transhumants who have already visited the area in previous years
which makes meetings easy to arrange. But problems can arise
when a new group of herders comes to the area. The committee
tries to establish grand rules with the Fulani, so that if crop damage
or other disputes occur, then both sides would have accepted an
agreed procedure for sttlement. They also have an indigenous
version of a Resource User Agreement, essentially demarcating
land where grazing is acceptable and warning of the herders from
potential farm land.
(3) State conflict resolution committee are also set up, comprising
representatives from the Department of Local Government, State
Security Services, the Police, farmers and Miyetti Allah (Pastoralists
association) with the Director General of the Department of Local
Government as the chairman.
(4) Similar committees are formed at the Local Government and district
(5) The committees use radio programmes (Hausa and Fufulde) to
enlighten and educate the farmers and pastoralists about the need
for peaceful co-existence.
(6) The committees are also involved in direct settlement of disputes
through the assistance of law enforcement agencies.
Conflict Management Strategy
The potential conflict management channels in the state include traditional
rulers, district/village heads, elders and leaders of farmers and fulani
headsmen Myetti Allah. In addition to these channels, the State government
and Local Government established Committees charged with the following
specific functions and responsibilities:.
i) Organization of public enlightenment campaign programmes in
Hausa and Fufulde by way of discussion forum, drama, jingles
and using local musicians.
ii) Visitation to the LGAs and identification of entry points of the
nomads, advised communities to evacuate their farm produce
on time, and advised farmers to exercise restraints in dealing
with the foreign nomads in order to avoid crisis.
iii) Advised the farmers to refrain from encroaching areas
designated as grazing or forest reserves, stock routes and
watering points; and
iv) The production of a map of all established grazing and forest
reserves and stock routes for the purpose of retrieval of already
encroached land and gazetting them.
v) Enforcement of the Edict that no herdsman shall graze his
animals on a farm land where there is farm produce or
remains of farm produce.
- However, It was reported that any resolution of conflicts by the
traditional systems were usually enduring because they are indigenous
and community based.
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY.
- As in other states, In addition to the traditional processes of managing
potential conflicts in the communities.
- the government set up a committee called Retrieval Committee, which
was headed by the commissioner for Agriculture and Natural
resources. The committee was to;
(a) retrieve all encroached grazing and forest reserves and stock
(b) make peace and settle land disputes.
(c) A technical committee under it was to deal with conflicts at the local
- Security committees were also established at the state and local
government levels to make peace and settle farmer/pastoralist
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
Some of the villages in the State have employed traditional method to manage
potential conflict between the Fadama users.
Two interesting examples are as indicated below:
A YAURI COMMUNITY
The Emir of Yauri, on his installation helped to form more than thirty
professional and tribal associations. Each association could freely elect its
own chairperson. The different chairs elect one representative as member to
the Emirate Council.
To ensure peace in his domain the Emir set up a three level conflict
management committee as indicated below:
Low level committee, comprising of village head, Fulani and farmer
leaders. They can resolve the issue at their level, mostly by mediation and
payment of compensation.
Middle level committee, comprising District Head, Sarkin Fulani and
branch chair of the Farmers Association. Very few issues pass this
level without being resolved. Even if the issue is with the police or court,
the committee can achieve an out-of-court settlement.
High level committee, comprising His Royal Highness the Emir of Yauri,
the Galadima (who also represents the chairs of Associations) and
other members of the Emirate Council. The verdict here is final and the
conflicting parties must adhere to it.
Since the establishment of this mechanism, farmers, fisherfolk and
pastoralists have been living peacefully with one another. The committees are
multi-purpose and it resolves all forms of conflict, not just farmer-herder
B ARGUNGU COMMUNITY – RESOURCE USE PLAN
Argungu is a fishing community: To sustain fishing in the area and avoid
conflict, a man called Sarkin Ruwa / Homa (Master of the river) is appointed
by the Emir. He controls a network of water ways in every direction from
Argungu.. The Homa has three assistants for different activities
(1) Sarkin Taru – Controller of fish trap
(2) Sarkin Mamari – Controller of hooks
(3) Mai Ruwa – Deputy to Homa. He is responsible for all enquiries.
The committee takes decisions on fishing gears and temporary prohibitions of
fishing on particular stretches of water. For example, the following fishing
gear and techniques have been banned in the community, cast net, hook,
dragnet, fish fences, fish weirs, poison, dynamite and “shocking” the water
with batteries. Apart from this, the water is divided into named stretches and
decisions are made on the basis of catches to ban of all fishing activities for a
All the members of the community accept the edicts of Homa.
Any individual caught violating the prohibition are sent to court and their
fishing gear is burnt. However, only few cases of violation are dealt with
every year. Consequently, fishing yields scarcely decline in the region unlike
other regions with scarcity of fish.
In addition to this, the state government has also set up two committees
namely Committee on Re-demarcation of grazing Reserves and
Committee on Farmers/cattle Rearers’ Dispute.
The recommendations of the committee on redemarcation are as follows:
i. to reduce farmer/pastoralist disputes both the State and LGAs should
survey, demarcate, beacon and gazette all the existing grazing
reserves and stock routes. The Fulani living in these grazing area
should be provided with legal grazing rights and title to the land where
ii. both the State and the LGAs should carry out grazing reserves
development and improvement activities annually. These activities will
include pasture improvement and water development (such as micro
earth dam, hand-pumps, and boreholes) inside these grazing areas so
as to boost livestock production in the state and encourage settlement
of the Fulani in the different areas of the grazing reserves; and
iii. the state government should pass a law against all kinds of illegal
farming and encroachment in gazetted grazing areas and stock-routes.
All the recognized current illegal farming encroachment into these
grazing areas and all the trespassing activities inside or at the
boundary of the grazing areas should be stopped.
The committee on Farmers/Cattle Rearers’ Dispute was to identify the
causes of the recurring farmers/cattle rearers disputes in the State and
recommend appropriate measures to the government to minimize the
reoccurrence of such disputes.
Apart from these committees, the Agricultural Development Program (ADP)
through their public enlightenment campaign has been settling disputes within
the NFDP areas.
Women opinion leaders were also involved in the arbitration by pacifying their
husbands, making them to realize that mostly women and children are prime
targets during the conflicts.
The NFDP-II Strategies
- The key tool is the Local Development Plans (LDPs)
- Conflict issues must be addressed within LDPs
- The LDP is prepared by all stakeholders with the guidance of facilitators,
following the formation of Fadama Community Associations (FCAs)
- LDPs drawn up provide a key to reducing tension over access to Fadama
It may be concluded that most of the conflicts arise from competition over the
use of land, water and grazing resources. This has to do with a combination
of factors principally resulting from a deficiency in the overall national
agricultural development strategy. This is manifested in the erosion of the
land use rights of the grazing resources, slow uptake of agricultural
technology especially livestock production and management practices and
poor land and soil conservation measures. While NFDP may not have
originated the crisis, it is unquestionable that its implementation has fuelled
In all the strategies, it was observed that the traditional method of managing
potential conflict is the most effective of all the methods being used.
Lastly, with the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach in which all
the stakeholders will be involved at every stage of the project cycle including
the preparation of the Local Development Plans (LDPs), it is hoped that every
conflict on fadama resource use will be minimized for the project to realize its