Nigeria – The roots of a conflict with social and religious ramifications
Bishop Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos, capital of the Plateau State, spoke to ACN - Canada about one of the main conflicts in his country: the one between the Fulani herdsmen (nomads and majority Moslems), and the farmers (sedentary and predominantly Christian).
Mons. Kaigama (a veteran and fervent defender of peace) shared his knowledge on the conflict which requires a skillful and human dialogue, in an ever-increasing quest for the common good.
ACN: Bishop Kaigama, could you explain what has changed in this conflict that has been going on for a few years?
Msgr Kaigama: The question of the herdsmen [referring here to the herding of cattle] who are mainly Fulani, and that of the farmers has become very complicated. Farmers cultivate their land using manual methods. When crops grow, they complain that the Fulani cows come and eat them. This situation is very worrying for them, as it deprives them of their main means of subsistence and generates strong tensions between the two communities. In retaliation, farmers attack the cows. Cows are worth more than anything to the Fulani. Also, if you kill a cow, if you attack them, the herdsmen will retaliate by attacking everything that belongs to you. Sometimes they go so far as to burn houses, kill families, and destroy crops. This is a very serious problem that we see especially in the northern part of Nigeria.