THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT AND ITS EFFECTS ON IMPROVING THE FARMERS-HERDERS CLASHES IN NIGERIA. (An Opinion)
Arc. Bankat, FCT.
The effects of climate change has an untold impact in Africa and with that reality, our lives are threatened due to the pressures posed by the degrading environment that has led to a survival of the fittest and a contest for resources.
Africa contributes the least of all continents to climate change with 920 000 tons of gas emissions that stands at 4% of the world’s total. The US all e represents 23% with 5.7billion tons but in a twist of fate, Africa suffers the most from its effects since 40% of its GNP (gross national product) is generated through agriculture. (J. Ishaku, 2015)
It’s impacts include annual flooding, massive desertification of the semi-arid regions (1400 square miles/annum), drying of the lakes, high temperatures (aiding in the spread of diseases) etc. and In Nigeria, it includes the drought cycle mostly in the north, drying of the lake Chad and an increasing level of carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gasses with an aggravating factor of uncontrolled felling of trees for commercial, construction and other economic purposes without new plantings and replacements going on for decades now.
These factors explain the rising influx of herders/pastoralists to most of the middle-beltan areas in Nigeria in search of pasture and grazing lands with an unprecedented urge to ‘forcibly’ invade those communities by destruction of farmlands and properties and a trail of bloodshed along their paths. Our administrative policies have not adjusted to these realities and little is done to check the climatic factors that influences such migrations.
In the past, herders co-existed with the farmers as those herders found harvested stalks beneficial to their cattle while the cow dung was beneficial likewise, for fertilization of farm lands with a little or no financial exchange. The herders give out some diary products and animals to such farmers while those farmers gave out harvested outputs for the cattle in exchange. Historically, the coming of the Europeans with advanced methods of mechanized farming and improved seedlings and other enhanced inputs like fertilizers and herbicides, coupled with the higher demand for raw materials from crops and diary products/meat for consumption and skin for manufacture, it then exposed the farmers and herders to an undue competition as both parties gradually abandoned their mutual understanding in search of better economic prospects with the Europeans via exports.
Israel sits on a desert and today, world over, Israel has an improved output ratio in agriculture and I wonder if our environmentalists are quite ignoring the methods employed by Israel to subdue our own challenges locally. With the depletion of the ozone layer and exposure of our environment to threats, it becomes more than paramount for a round-table summit to be employed to limit the primary causative agents that leads to the incessant “socio-ethno-politico-religious” crises.
This is urgent!
The annihilation of the trees that provide a buffer for crops and mankind, improved gaseous exchanges, increasing yields for plants and an improved water supply through chemical and capillary actions, can be addressed for the reasons given thus. With an urgent check in environmental issues, our crises may decline. Let us learn to plant trees and legislation should be made against felling of trees while new construction designs should include more use of steel, concrete and other alternative materials to reduce the requirements for wood and wood products that has raised the level of deforestation.
Finally, going back in biblical history, it was observed that the first “Farmers-Herders” crises was recorded by Cain and Abel. In summary, Cain the herder, killed his brother Abel, the farmer, who was obviously blessed by God for his ability to offer sacrifices on the alter from his harvest which Cain obviously did not. Over time, this clashes have evolved to a point that one of the reasons for the construction of the Great Wall of China was an attempt to divert the invasion of herders on the lands of the Chinese farmlands as a security measure that protected their lives too.
As this may not offer concrete solutions to end our current and incessant crises involving farmers and herders, the humble attempt is to raise an awareness to those in authority by giving a background and an ideal suggestion for our natural habitat (the environment), to be improved with the view of providing lasting solutions to the mayhem.
Let’s go green!
Arc. Bankat, FCT.
June 11, 2018.
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