Is there a religious dimension to concern about farmer-herder conflicts in Nigeria?

08 February 2024, Version 2
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Many studies have been conducted on the conflicts between Fulani nomadic herders and sedentary farmers over land and water resources in Nigeria, but very few have examined the religious dimension of these conflicts. In fact, some studies have described explanations that focus on the religious dimension as oversimplifications of a complex social problem. But is this really the case? Is religion important in understanding the dynamics of the conflict? My regression results show that Muslim affiliation and the predominance of Muslims in a local government area (i.e., municipality) negatively correlate with concern about farmer-herder conflicts. A plausible mechanism behind this finding is that Islam, which is the religion shared by the Fulani nomadic herders and the Muslim sedentary population, allows trust to be easily established between members of the two groups, which in turn lowers the likelihood of disputes over land and water resources turning violent.


Farmer-herder conflict
Pastoral conflict


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