HERDSMEN BANDITRY AND FOOD INSECURITY IN NIGERIA A STUDY OF PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI REGIME 2015-2021

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CHAPTER ONE/INTRODUCTION

 

Background to the study

 

There has been growing concern in parts of Nigeria over insecurity caused by bandits. The frequency with which they attack communities has become a very worrisome development to every Nigerian, particularly those living in the northern parts of the country. Onah (2010) subscribes to the view that the frequency of attacks may be attributed to the ease with which these bandits move in and out of rural communities without any form of resistance.

 

Arising from the strategic neglect of rural communities in terms of socioeconomic developments, Asiwaju (2004), held that many rural communities have been turned into areas of concentration for bad roads, absence of health facilities and educational institutions, and have also become sites for poorly managed forest reserve that are now providing cover as hideouts for rural criminal bandits.

 

Bagu and Smith (2017) noted that organized research on banditry is still at its nascent stage. However, Kunn and Jibrin (2016) and Centre for Democracy and Development (2015), noted that there have been some scholarly works on the subject matter. They unanimously contended that rural banditry has become reasonably most prevalent in some parts of the North-Central region, with states like Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau and Benue becoming more affected by the phenomenon for sometimes now.

 

The increasing incidences of banditry has affected both human and food security in Niger State. In an attempt to further discuss how to curtail the threats of banditry, (Gadzama, Oduebe and Dariya, 2018) opined that human security goes beyond the concept of mere physical security in the traditional sense. Ewans (2007) was however of a different view, he saw modern concept of human security as that which tries to identify the inherent weaknesses of the traditional security pattern which fundamentally focuses on the security of the state instead of the protection of the individuals and communities. Therefore, Ewans (2007) believed that security in modern times should be more redirected towards the protection of lives and properties of individuals and communities rather than concentrating more on state functionaries, their families and allies, and by extension what they define as critical infrastructures.

 

Tadjbakksh and Chenoy (2007) and Johns, (2014) all defined human security as the absence of insecurity and threats. To be secured and free from both fear of physical, psychological abuses, violence, persecution or death from want of food, good health and job. They concluded that human security should therefore deal with the capacity to identify threats, to avoid them when possible, and to mitigate their effects when they occur.

 

Food security on the other hand is simply the access to basic nutrition and food supply at all times needed for man’s survival needs. The United Nations (2014) defined food security as the opportunity for all people, at all times, to have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needed for an active and healthy life.

 

Okpaleke (2014) in attempt to define rural banditry maintains that banditry has to do with armed violence perpetrated by criminal opportunists and syndicates along the country’s border lines and rural interiors. The above writer believes that acts of criminality by armed bandits are targeted at human lives or property; armed robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling and allied violence. But McGregor (2014), added to the list of criminalities of rural banditry. According to him, rural banditry activities also include village market raids, rape of women, arson and outright killings, these actions have also always involved the use of force, threats and intimidation. Okpaleke (2014) however further maintained that there are different perspectives of rural banditry, according to him; some are motivated by the imperative of material accumulation while others are motivated only by the quest to rob, assault or even liquidate a person or a group of persons based on political, ideological or religious considerations.

 

Beyond the conflicting and contending definitions, dimensions and perspectives, rural armed banditry in Nigeria is not a new phenomenon. In this direction, Ja’afar (2018) is of the view that there were records of instances of rural banditry in colonial Nigeria, as far back as the 1930’s. According to him, in those days, wayfarers and merchants travelling on the local shallow feeder roads were sometimes faced with ambush by criminal bandits who were basically targeting goods carried on donkeys, camels and ox carts. Such bandits at that time forcefully took away goods and disappeared into the bush, or at some other times, the bandits raided villages and carted away valuable properties and produce. So this criminality according to him has existed in pre-colonial times.

 

The Humanitarian (2018), also stated that the first case of banditry was documented around 1901, and the incidence was said to have occurred somewhere between Western Hausaland and the border of the Republic of Niger. In the said incident, it was recorded that over 12,000 strong camels, laden with assorted grains were attacked and 210 merchants were killed. But the disturbing development is captured more by Egwu (2016), when he stated that rural banditry has moved from its rudimentary phase to a more complex and complicated pattern of criminality. Little wonder Bagu and Smith (2017) submitted that “gangs of criminals, often youth from farming and herding communities have taken advantage of the growing insecurity in the country to launch their attacks on villages and communities to loot, engage in highway robberies, cattle rustling and killings for personal gains”.

 

Niger State with the largest landmass distribution in the country is viewed by this researcher as one of the states affected by rural banditry, with an overstretched forest hinterland mass of 76,363 square-kilometers, as against the populous Lagos state with only 4,000 square kilometers of land mass, followed by Kaduna and Zamfara states with 46,053 and 39,762 square- kilometres respectively. Adeniyi (2018) believes that their stretched large landmarks and forest zones are enough and comfortable to become hideouts and effective camp training grounds for bandit activities.

 

Statement of Research Problem

 

Certain socio-existential conditions have been opined to be sufficient reasons why rural armed banditry has successfully strived in Nigeria. Some of these characteristic conditions have been identified to be both the interiors and borderline ecological challenges. Gaye (2018) maintained that prominent among these conditions are the scarcely governed hinterlands and forestlands. According to him, the North West and North Central regions of the Nigerian hinterlands are marked by extremely dispersed normal settlements, which have been separated by rangelands and farmlands with extreme gaps for settlements, these have served as hideouts which are rarely discovered.

 

According to Okoh and Ugwu (2019), these forestlands are vast, rugged and hazardous, and are highly under-policed to the point that it makes them conducive for to all forms of jungle criminality. The above scholars were also of the view that the rugged open stretched forests provide sufficient avenues for all manners of violent crimes like cattle rustling, kidnappings, arsons, maiming and killings.

 

Adeniyi (2018), posits that, in addition to the under-governed rural territorial spheres highlighted above, banditry also strive because of the material incentive of the poorly regulated mining, trans-human and illicit arms and artisanal activities taking place in these forests, as bandits occasionally attack mining sites in order to steal gold and cash. Okoli (2017) further elucidated on the above, he pointed out that, sometimes the lethality of the attacks are merely reprisals, designed to show down communities, which have hitherto challenged or resisted the bandits’ onslaught through vigilantism. Niger State which is the subject matter of this research has the largest landmass in Nigeria, the same ecological structures in the forests as those mentioned earlier.

 

Consequently, bandits move in and out from the Birnin-Gwari forests into the stretch Sarkin-Pawa extended landmass up to the Allawa forest in Rafi local government of the state which has become notorious for camping bandits.

As if these were not enough, Saturday Tribune of 15th August, 2020 reported by one Adelowo Oladipo, a journalist, that “no fewer than fifteen (15) people were feared dead, killed by gunmen suspected to be armed bandits in Ukuru Community of Mariga local government of Niger State, the Chairman of the vigilante group in Ukuru, Mallam Maikera Ashafa who was interviewed confirmed that the gunmen invaded their community on no fewer than 52 motorcycles, carrying sophisticated weapons killing, kidnapping and burning down houses seem to be getting worse daily and continues unabated.

Objective of the study

The main objective of the study is on Herdsmen banditry and food  insecurity in Nigeria  a study of president Muhammadu Buhari regime 2015-2021.

 

The specific objectives of the study are;

 

  1. Find out the effects of rural banditry on food security in the three local government areas of the Katsina
  2. Examine effect of Herdsmen banditry on agricultural  production  and  food  insecurity
  3. Examine the impacts of  banditry  on  food  security  in Katsina state
  4. Highlight the  recent  efforts  of  the  government  in tackling Banditry to improve food insecurity.
  5. Recommend measures towards  tackling  banditry  to improve food security in the state

 

Research Questions

  1. What are the effects of rural banditry on food security in the three local government areas of the Katsina state?
  2. What are the effect of Herdsmen banditry on agricultural production  and  food  insecurity?
  3. What are the impacts of  banditry  on  food  security  in Katsina state?
  4. What are the  recent  efforts  of  the  government  in tackling Banditry to improve food insecurity?
  5. Recommend measures towards  tackling  banditry  to improve food security in the state

Scope of the study

This is study investigates Herdsmen banditry and food  insecurity in Nigeria . The scope covers  president Muhammadu Buhari regime from 2015-2021

Significance of the study

The study will add to the existing body of knowledge on the subject matter. Students undergoing research work similar to the present study who may wish to use this work as a reference material or a spring board for their own work will find this work really useful.

Limitations of the Study

Financial Constraints: The researcher was with limited funds and cannot visit all the areas to get responses from respondents but was able to get good information concerning the research topic.

Time Constraints: The researcher was involved in other departmental activities like seminars, attendance of lectures et.c which limited the time for the research but the researcher was able to meet up with the time assigned for the completion of the research work.

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  • This topic contains:
  • Chapter 1-5
  • Abstract
  • References
  • Appendix/If applicable