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Conflict in the time of Covid-19

Case/country studies

Written by Leigh Mayhew, Sarah Opitz-Stapleton, Alex Humphrey

Hero image description: Al Haji Sabiu, farmer from Alkamawa, Nigeria Image credit:SARD-SC (Support to Agricultural Research for the Development of Strategic Crops in Africa) /ICARDA. Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In this brief, the programme Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) speaks to farmers and pastoralists in conflict-affected drylands of Nigeria to gauge how Covid-19, and lockdown measures, have affected their social relationships.

How have Covid-19 and lockdown measures affected the social relationships of farmers and pastoralists in the conflict-affected Nigerian states of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Kogi and Plateau? What, if any, changes in social cohesion and conflict have these farmers and pastoralists had to deal with against the backdrop of pandemic control measures and the other shocks they routinely face?

These were among the questions that SPARC asked farmers and herders in Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Kogi and Plateau to gain some insight into their experiences of social cohesion and conflict since April 2020.

This brief highlights how the activities of armed and vigilante groups changed during the pandemic; farmer and pastoralist perceptions of government pandemic response measures and aid, and how pandemic measures impacted social relationships within agro-pastoral and pastoral communities.

This brief is part of a three-part SPARC learning project to understand how farmers, herders and those living in conflict-affected areas in South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia are coping with and adapting to multiple shocks and stressors. The first part of the project highlights research on people’s lives, livelihoods and wellbeing.

This brief reports on research from the second part, which captures people’s experiences of social cohesion, conflict and conflict mediation, and situates these within broader security contexts gathered from government, research and non-governmental organisation (NGO) reports and media sources.

Authors: Leigh Mayhew, Sarah Opitz-Stapleton, Gbenga Olatunji, Alex Humphrey, Hadiza Esma'eel, Msugh Atser, Oluwafemi Olajide, Salma Aliyu, Shadrach Gideon