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Fulani Herdsmen’s activities have been escalating steadily in Nigeria; the killings going on in Benue earlier this year being the most recent indicator of the group’s growing threat to Nigeria’s political stability. Indeed, the group is viewed by many experts as a direct challenge the state’s corrupt nature and its general inability to address the expanding economic North-South disparity within Nigeria.

Nigeria encompasses 350 ethnic groups that speak more than 250 languages, with the primary division taking place among the Muslims and the Christians groups of the country. Political tensions over the equal distribution of political power and economic prosperity have long been key points of dissension between the two groups. The economic division between northern and southern Nigeria is expanding as well. Despite continuing growth in GDP, according to a recent report by the World Bank, 100 million Nigerians live in poverty in a country with a population of approximately 174 million.

Communal conflicts between Fulani herdsmen and host communities usually arise when grazing cattle are not properly controlled and consequently graze on cultivated plants like cassava, maize etc. in farms of host communities. Attempts by the owners of such farms to register their grievance of destruction of their livelihood (food crops and cash crops) by the cattle of Fulani herdsmen is always stoutly resisted thereby degenerating into communal conflicts. Host communities sometimes register their grievances by placing restrictions on movement and gracing of cattle in designated areas and enforcing compliance through coercive measures decreed by the host community vigilante which may take the shape of killing stray cattle or arresting and prosecution defaulters. When the communities attempt to moderate their activities or request their exit, the Fulani herdsmen become aggressive and attack the host community sometimes with the assistance of hired mercenaries. Fulani herdsmen normally attack their target communities at the time they are most susceptible such as mid-night or prayer days, when they are in their churches, incessantly killing people with sophisticated weapons, looting properties and burning houses. (Durojaiye 2014) Fulani Herdsmen are “believed to have killed at least 1,229 people in Nigeria in 2014, according to the latest Global Terrorism Index (GTI)…” (Ludovica 2014)

According to the political theories of Max Weber, political stability depends on the government's legitimate use of physical force. If the government cannot ensure the basic services it provides for people, such as security and the possibility of procuring food and shelter, it loses the power to enforce laws and political instability ensues. Political instability is associated with the concept of a failed state.


The main objective of the study was to examine the effect of Fulani Herdsmen and Nigeria Political Instability while specific objectives were: 

1.        To examine effect of power sharing on political instability in Nigeria

2.        To examine effect of multiple ethnic groups on political instability in Nigeria

3.        To examine effect of religious fanaticism on political instability in Nigeria

4.        To examine factors militating against political instability in Nigeria. 


The significance of this study can be viewed from the following perspectives.

1.       One main significance of this study is that when completed, it would serve as a bridge for the gap that have been created between where previous works on this subject area stopped and today.

2        This study is significant in the sense that it’s finding would serve as a base and framework for future researchers to carry out further studies in the field of knowledge under study.

3.      The study draws government, private individual and cooperate bodies to accept the fact that Fulani herdsmen crisis has a proportional effect on political stability.


2.1 Power sharing and political instability in Nigeria

2.2 Multiple ethnic groups and political instability in Nigeria

2.3 Religious fanaticism and political instability in Nigeria

         2.4    Concept of Political Instability

         2.5    Effect of Fulani Herdsman Attack on Nigeria

         2.6    Empirical Studies


Lenore Walker’s Cycle of Violence


1.        There is no significant effect of power sharing on political instability in Nigeria.

2.        There is no significant of multiple ethnic groups on political instability in Nigeria.

3.        There is no significant effect of religious fanaticism on political instability in Nigeria.

4.        There is no significant effect of factors militating against political instability in Nigeria.


The study will adopt descriptive survey design


The researcher will visit each of the selected political parties personally with a letter of introduction to the principal officer in the state secretaries. With permission duly granted by each of the principal officer, the sampled respondents in each of the parties will be issued with questionnaire where each of the respondent was required to complete the items independently.

The instrument to be used by the researcher for this study will be research questionnaire. The questionnaire was used to obtain data on the independent and dependent variables presented in both sections A and B of the questionnaire. Section A measured the demographic data of the respondents such as name, gender, age, educational qualification and marital status while the section B measured the independent variables.


For clarity, the data obtained were analyzed using independent T-test descriptive analysis.