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Pastoralist – farmer’s conflicts in Nigeria have grown spread and intensified over the past decade and today poses a threat to national survival. Thousands of  people have been killed, communities have been destroyed and so many farmers and pastoralist have been killed, communities have been destroyed  and property in an orgy of killings and destruction that is not only destroying  livelihood but also affecting national cohesion (Premium time, January 12, 2018). This study was on the Fulani herdsmen attacks in Numan; a threat to Christian spirituality and discipleship. The study seeks to explore how Fulani herdsmen activities affect the work of the church in Numan. To investigate the reasons behind the herders attack and also to examine how Christians respond to this attacks. Relevant and suitable theological concepts and theories on religious violence are given and the reasons behind the sudden rise of Fulani herders in Northern Nigeria are explored. The study employed descriptive survey to helps in finding out and measuring the relationships among variables. A total population of 240 people was estimatedusing judgemental sampling for the study, 150 structured questionnaires was distributed for the study. Responses from the questionnaire was analyzed using the arithmetic mean. Finding from the analysis indicated that activities of the Fulani herders stops Christians from attending church activities, the activities of Fulani herders Stops church activities, the activities of Fulani herders affects their Christian life, they get scared because they are Christians and might be targeted because of their faith and the activities of Fulani herders affects the discipleship of the Numan People.






1.1 Background to the study

1.2 Statement of problem

1.3 Objective of the study

1.4 Research question

1.5 Significance of the Study

1.6 Scope/Limitation Of The Study




2.1.1  The Concept of Terrorism




2.4 Theoretical framework

2.5 Theological Concept of Violence

2.5.1 Theories of Religion and Violence



3.1 Introduction

3.2 Research design

3.3 Sources of Data

3.5 Population of the study

3.6 Sample size determination

3.7 Sample size technique

3.8 Instrumentation

3.9 Reliability

3.10 Validity

3.11 Method of Data Collection

3.12 Method of Data Analysis

3.13 Ethical consideration



4.1 introduction

4.2 Response Rate

4.3 Demographic distribution












1.1 Background to the study

Pastoralist – farmer’s conflicts in Nigeria have grown spread and intensified over the past decade and today poses a threat to national survival. Thousands of  people have been killed, communities have been destroyed and so many farmers and pastoralist have been killed, communities have been destroyed  and property in an orgy of killings and destruction that is not only destroying  livelihood but also affecting national cohesion (Premium time, January 12, 2018).The coming of the Forth Republic in Nigeria where new political parties were formed and elections conducted at various levels of government i.e. Locals, States, and Federal in 1999 having witnessed bitterness during the long regimes of various Military Heads of State makes a lots of Nigerians believed that democracy have come to stay with joy and happiness. Not knowing that the game religious and politics came to play in Nigeria till date, series of crises ranging from ethno – religious, political, militancy, Boko Haram, Niger Delta Avengers and the most dishearten one  that is occurring between herdsmen and farmers across the country are all posing security challenges for the growth and development of  Nigeria. Much of Nigeria was under British colonial rule before Nigerian independence. Fulani herders established friendly relationships with community members, and they shared culture and ideology by sharing resources such as land and water. Strong social networks between the Fulani herders and local cattle dealers, politicians, and landowners were established (Bukari, Sow, &Scheffran, 2018). However, migration routes and grazing zones were not protected for the Fulani herders, and the herders often had conflicts over land allocation. The most impacted states in Nigeria, such as Benue, Taraba, and Plateau were slow to develop. Fulani herders established various forms of interactions with local farmers. Herders and farmers violence was mainly because of the increased need of herders to access grazing lands and farmers who tried to prevent the Fulani herders from coming to their lands (Bukari, Sow, &Scheffran, 2018). 

Since the Fourth Nigerian Republic was founded in 1999, many people were killed in the Fulani-farmer violence due to an expansion of the agriculturist population and deteriorating environmental conditions. Insecurity and violence have led many people to create self-defense forces and militias, and they participated in further violence, especially between Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Christian farmers (Bukari, Sow, &Scheffran, 2018).

Recently, Christian leaders in Nigeria claimed that 6,000 people were killed at the beginning of this year by the Muslim Fulani group, and the majority of people who were murdered are women and children (Clark, 2018). The frequent attacks on the Nigeria farmers weakened the communities’ growth. According to the International Crisis Group, the conflict between Nigerian farmers and herders killed at least 1,300 people in the first half of 2018. Since the beginning of 2018, more than 18 people from adamawa State were killed, and thousands of people were displaced because of attacks. Also, people living in the Southern region were impacted by the Boko Haram insurgency. Government’s failure to handle the insurgency quickly caused social instability and pressure (Clark, 2018).

Nigeria's population grew from 33 million in 1950 to about 192.3 million in current years. The Fulani-farmer conflict was caused by different factors, such as ideological, historical, and cultural influences (Premium Times Nigeria, 2018). For example, the usages of land and water resources caused enormous pressure. Also, in the far north, the impact of desertification has resulted in deforestation and migration of Fulani herders (Ndubuisi, 2018). For example, In January 2013, it was reported that Fulani herdsmen attacked some villages, killed10 people, and displacing over 4,000 people (Ndubuisi, 2018). Mikailu (2016) also reported a severe attack in Benue State in February 2016, over thousands of people were driven from six villages by the Fulani herdsmen. Some victims complained of conflict between Muslims and Christians has also contributed to increasing violence and massacres in their religions. Also, due to the migration activities of the herdsmen, they frequently pass through farmlands owned by local farmers and destroy their crops and other properties.  Fulani herders claimed that they are only trying to protect their cattle from being expelled from farmers. Farmers wish to protect their property from trespassing and damage. In many cases, farmers have been injured or killed as well as evicted from their homes (Christopher, 2018).

As noted in the World Watch Research report on Nasarawa State, the ideology of herdsmen is linked to the Hausa-Fulani Muslim invasion of Benue which is based on the understanding that ‘‘Komai na Allah ne. Ko wane filina Allah ne, banakuba, banakafiraiba, na Allah ne” (Translation: Everything belongs to Allah. Every piece of land belongs to Allah and not you; it is not for you infidels but for Allah). Thus, with climate change, competition over limited resources and environmental threat to the ways of life of the herdsmen, the use of terror and its religious justification has been intensified, particularly in Benue. Herdsmen use terror tactics to conduct jihad, displacing local communities from their land to make room for their herds, to occupy those lands and to spread Islam. The phrase “everything belongs to Allah” reflects the Muslim understanding of God. The Muslim God is seen as being the one true God, with no equal. Therefore, the sovereignty of Allah is the foundation for all Islamic sociopolitical and economic systems, and society must be governed in accordance with the Quran and the Sunna of the Prophet (Ahmed – Gamgum, 2018).These herdsmen use sophisticated weapons and ammunition. In

Nigeria, there is a resurgence of violent conflict and Islamic jihad perpetrated by Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen in majority parts of the Middle Belt region, particularly Kaduna, Plateau, Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa States. Attempts to claim that these herdsmen have nothing to do with Islam or Islamic jihad is incorrect and a failed narrative that is likely to derail any coherent government policy. Another phase has been the resurgence of the Islamic infiltration, invasion and occupation of local communities, farmlands and territories belonging to Christians in central and southern Nigeria. Thousands of churches have been destroyed and thousands of Christians have been killed, displaced or injured. Like conventional terrorist organizations, Islamic radical sects and jihadi groups, the ideology of the Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen goes beyond the mere feeding of sheep and the search for greener pastures (Ahmed – Gamgum, 2018). According to Ahmed –Gamgum a Muslim survivor of the February 2016 Agatu attacks interviewed in Makurdi, confirmed how he was set free by the Fulani because he recited the Shahadah and the Fatiha (Islamic article of faith and the first verse of the Quran) in fact, there are indeed parallels between the Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen and Boko Haram. Like Boko Haram, the Fulani are Muslim and their victims are overwhelmingly Christians and non-Muslims. They cry “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) during their attacks, and they leave horrendous atrocities in their wake (Ahmed – Gamgum, 2018).

1.2 Statement of problem

In recent years, there have been a number of conflicts between farmers and Fulani herdsmen throughout Nigeria  which have culminated into violent conflicts and the loss of lives and properties.Awojobi (2014:145) notes that since when Fulani herdsmen initially started with its insurgency, the activities of the sect have continued unabated despite the relentless effort of the government to curtail their criminal activities. Chukwurah, et al (2015:372) state that, “From the activities of the Fulani herdsmen, Nigeria has now been certified as a fully-fledged terrorist state, a classification that brings untold disgrace or hatred on us all”. King (2011) observed, “More than 200 members of the Fulani herdsmen stormed Agatu town in Benue State, Northern Nigeria like a swarm of bees, and at the end of their four-hour rampage, some 150 people had been killed - at least 130 of them are Christians”. This highlights the gravity of the issue of religious violence committed by Fulani herdsmen on Christian churches.

In light of this, the researcher seeks to address the following fundamental question: In what way does violence committed by the Fulani herdsmen affect the Christians in Numan? In other words, this study seeks to enquire how Christianity is affected by the violence from Fulani herdsmen. The question can also be posed thus: How and to what extent does violence committed by Fulani herdsmen impact on the life and activities of the Christians in Numan? 

At issue here is religious violence and how it affects the discipleship operations of the Christians. To what extent does it affect the missionary operations of the church? Hence, the researcher will seek to understand the character and nature of the violence committed by Fulani herdsmen.

1.3 Objective of the study

The objectives of  this study are:

(i)         To explore how Fulani herdsmen activities affect the work of the church in Numan.

(ii)        To investigate the reasons why Fulani herdsmen is carrying out such violent activities inNuman

(iii)To seek to understand how the church is responding to the Fulani herdsmen’s violent activities.

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