Governance and politics

Climate-related armed conflict and communities' resistance to Rural Grazing Area settlement policy in Nigeria's Middlebelt


In Nigeria, resource contests have sparked unending ecological conflict. As a result, conflict resolution measures have been proposed to mitigate climate-related conflict. However, the acceptance of such policies is hampered by ethnic suspicions, communities' exclusion, religious sensitivities, and a lack of political will.State policies are frequently based  on  centralized resources, which is exacerbated by the complexities of power relations between central and sub-national authorities. Thus, this article examines communities' resistance to the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) settlement policy in Nigeria's Middlebelt using Benue state as a reference point. The study employed a quantitative method using questionnaires. The study used a sample size of 385 questionnaires administered in Guma, Gwer-West, Gwer-East, Ukum, and Logo local governments in Benue state. Therefore, the article found that the failure of communities' inclusivity substantially contributed to the local revolt against the RUGA settlement policy. Specifically, the study's findings demonstrate that the possibility of losing ancestral lands, the past experience of the host communities, ethnic and political factors, and poor policy awareness were the primary factors that reinforced communities' resistance to RUGA policy. Moreover, the government's over-reliance on an authoritarian mechanism and wrong policy choices compounded by a  non-inclusive approach contributed to policy failure to gain acceptability at the grassroots level in Benue state. As an intervention, the article recommends democratically-inclusive conflict resolution strategies for climate-related armed conflict in the region.

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