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Politics Why IGP going to Benue is never the solution to herdsmen-farmers’ crisis in Nigeria

Police head's presence can only win the war, but not the peace.

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Saraki, Dogara report police IG, Ibrahim Idris to Buhari play

Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris


The spate of herders and farmers clashes in Nigeria has gotten to a level that brought tears from the eyes of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state. But his tears and the IGP’s relocation to Makurdi will surely not end the crisis as they are more factors that will keep the crisis going.

President Buhari had ordered the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to move his operational base to Makurdi and put to an end to the crisis.

“In compliance with the Presidential directives, the IGP is moving into Benue state with additional Five (5) Units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) making a total of Ten (10) Units of PMF deployed in the State which is in addition to other Police formations on the ground in the State before the crisis,” the Nigeria said in a statement issued on Tuesday, January 9, 2017.

“More Units of the Police Special Forces, Counter Terrorism Units, and Conventional Policemen are already being deployed to the State as at this time today to comply in totality with the Presidential order.”

This is a good move but may have little or no effect on the situation due to the following reasons.

Also Read: IGP Idris lands in troubled state on Buhari's order to catch killers

1. The Northern rich men and elites own the cattle business

Fulani herdsmen defend their actions, say their cows were stolen play

A herdsman and cows moving about during election

It is a public knowledge that these cattle are owned by the rich and elite in the Northern part of the country. And these people are political power brokers in the country.

Hence, it is very hard to curtail the activities of those Fulani herders managing the flocks on their behalf.

This would help to explain the brazen attitude of the Mayetta Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) in challenging some states governments for introducing laws banning open cattle grazing.

2. Herders in Nigeria are mostly foreigners

Police charge 6 herdsmen involved in Benue attacks to court play

The Fulani herdsmen arraigned in court on Friday, January 5, 2018

(Channels Television)

The foreign dimension to the crisis has been one point that is well established. Majority of the nomads have been identified as Fulani but were from a part of the tribe habituated in neighbouring countries.

In the words of Ibrahim Abdullahi, the assistant national secretary general of MACBAN, the solution to the lingering crisis lies outside Nigeria.

“It has to do with foreign nomads coming into the country. There are three or four international grazing routes, most of which passed through Kaduna state,” he said.

Also Read: Al-Makura warns Ortom against careless allegations about killer herdsmen

3. Intra-ethnic and communal-based

Police recover 198 arms from herdsmen, rustlers in Katsina play

Armed Fulani herdsmen


The ethnoreligious dimensions of the issue make it more difficult to be solved by just military or security approach. There is a need to always to win the peace not only winning the war.

There is a growing suspicion among various ethnic groups across the country. Hence, making it add for just military solutions to be adequate for the current problem.

4. It is about resources use (pasture and water)

Even if the conflict was doused by force, it is sure that there will be a future occurrence of this crisis. This is because it is all about resource control or use.

Mr Bello said: “It is a conflict basically about resource use. It is the issue of pasture and water.”