1.1 Background to the Study
The Fula people also known as Fulani in Hausa language, are a mass population widely dispersed and culturally diverse in all of Africa, but most predominant in West Africa. The Fulani’s generally speak the Fula language. A significant number of them are nomadic in nature, herding cattle, goats and sheep across the vast dry grass lands of their environment, keeping isolate from the local farming communities, making them the world’s largest pastoral nomadic group (Eyekpimi, 2016). They are massively spread over many countries, and are found mainly in West Africa and northern parts of Central Africa, but also in Sudan and Egypt. The main Fulani sub-groups in Nigeria are: Fulbe Adamawa, Fulbe Mbororo, Fulbe Sokoto, Fulbe Gombe, and the Fulbe Borgu (Eyekpimi, 2016).
Nigeria as a nation state is under a severe internal socio-economic and security threat. At a more general level, the threat has special economic, political and environmental dimensions. Each of these dimensions has greatly affected the nation’s stability and can be traced to the Fulani-herdsmen and farmers clash, ethnic militant armies, ethnic and religious conflicts, poverty, insurgency, armed robbery, corruption, economic sabotage and environmental degradation (Damba, 2007).
Food security is a condition related to the supply of food, and individuals’ access to it. Concerns over food security have existed throughout history. There is evidence of Granaries being in use over 10,000 years ago, with central authorities in civilizations including ancient China and ancient Egypt being known to release food from storage in times of famine (Illufoye, 2009). At the 1974 World Food Conference the term “food security” was defined with an emphasis on supply. Food security, they said, is the “availability at all times of adequate world food supplies of basic foodstuffs to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and prices” (United Nations, 2013). Later definitions added demand and access issues to the definition. The final report of the 1996 World Food Summit states that food security “exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (United Nations, 2015).
Household food security exists when all members, at all times, have access to enough food for an active, healthy life (USDA, 2008). Individuals who are food secure do not live in hunger or fear of starvation (FAO, 2006). Food insecurity, on the other hand, is a situation of “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways”, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2008). Food security incorporates a measure of resilience to future disruption or unavailability of critical food supply due to various risk factors including droughts, shipping disruptions, fuel shortages, economic instability, and wars (Boeing, 2016). In the years 2011-2017 (FAO, 2017), an estimated 842 million people were suffering from chronic hunger (FAO, 2017). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO, identified the four pillars of food security as availability, access, utilization, and stability (FAO, 2009). The United Nations (UN) recognized the Right to Food in the Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, (United Nations, 2015) and has since noted that it is vital for the enjoyment of all other rights (United Nations, 2015).
Violent conflict and crisis in Nigeria, like other parts of the world, have created a rift in human relations, caused serious threat to food security, among many other effects (Basil, 2015). Crisis is inevitable as long as we live together, especially in a multi-ethnic, cultural and religious community like Nigeria. However violence leaves us with various forms of retardation and underdevelopment resulting from the destruction of lives, farmland and property. The menaces of violent crisis conflict have been on the increase in some most Nigerian cities in the last two decades (Ilufoye, 2009). Most of these conflicts are generally regarded as ethno-religious bigotry and antagonism.
According to Kassam (2014) and Basil (2015), the conflicts in most part of Nigeria especially the Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash are largely uncalled for. Farmers can no longer farm peacefully because of Fulani herdsmen. These Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash have pitched Christians and Muslims against each other. The conflict has had devastating effects on inter-group relationships especially in Nasarawa Egor in Nasarawa State and Agatu L.G.A of Benue State. Apart from the loss of lives, farmlands, food produce and property, it has profound influence on residential relationships, leading to new trends in the polarization of communities. This is evident in a physical manifestation of mono religious areas in Nasarawa and Benue States, with Christians and Muslims living in dominant religious clusters(Eyekpemi, 2016).