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Livelihoods, conflict and mediation: Nigeria

Case/country study

Written by Sarah Opitz-Stapleton, Leigh Mayhew

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

This report provides an introductory snapshot of issues at each of the research sites from the perspectives of those interviewed. It builds on previous research from the programme Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) examining the impacts of Covid-19 on livelihoods in Nigeria. Each successive report will dig more deeply into issues described by interviewees, and situate these within the broader historical and present-day socioeconomic and political contexts, and crises that shape their experiences.

The overarching aim of the longitudinal study is to document and understand the challenges facing people with different livelihoods, particularly around disputes and conflict of various types, and how these are impacting lives and livelihoods. The research did not initially focus on particular types of disputes and conflict, but rather let the interviewees describe the disputes and conflicts they had experienced in the last five years, including their views on the perpetrators and causes.

The economic, environmental, political and social contexts at the local-to-national levels are continually evolving, and regional-to-global events such as the economic repercussions of Covid-19 are being felt at the local level. We want to capture how people are coping with and adapting their livelihoods to this dynamism. Specific questions guiding the research include:

  • What are the most significant non-conflict shocks, stresses and constraints currently affecting pastoral and agropastoral livelihoods in insecure contexts in Nigeria and Somalia?
  • What types of disputes and conflicts are affecting livelihoods for women and men, and what are their impacts?
  • What types of actions have been taken to respond to and/or mitigate the various types of disputes and conflicts? Responses and mitigation strategies of interest may include formal and informal mediation and conflict-resolution initiatives, as well as household and community-level adaptations to conflict events.
  • When non-conflict shocks (e.g. flooding, drought, price increases) and stresses (e.g. dry-season challenges, elections) occur and/or crises develop, how are disputes and conflict incidences affected?
  • How, at an individual and community level, are households adapting livelihood strategies in response to disputes, conflict and other shocks and stresses?

Authors: Sarah Opitz-Stapleton, Ibifuro Joy Alasia, Zubairu Adamu, Umar Hassan, Aminatu Ardo Jibo, Maryam Yusuf Bayero, Bashiru Mallumre, Aminu Kuba, Leigh Mayhew, Obioma Egemonye, Sarli Nana