The study seeks to examine press coverage of Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis in Nigeria. The Vanguard newspaper was used for the content analysis. The total number of issues of the newspaper anticipated for the study of newspaper coverage of Fulani ad farmers crisis is limited to two hundred and twenty (240) editions of the Vanguard newspaper with coverage from Monday to Friday. The techniques used by the researcher are purposive and systematic random sampling. The researcher purposively selected Monday to Friday editions totaling 120 editions and the systematic random sampling. The study adopted the agenda setting of the mass communication which explained that the press control public topic and discussion. The study concluded the Vanguard newspaper gave wider coverage of Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis as most of the reports were inside page of the newspaper with good banner headline and other headlines at the front page and back respectively to give attention to the crisis. The study recommended that there should be an increase in the type of stories of fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis or other related crisis on the front page because most television newspaper review focused on the front page. Straight news on the crisis relating to Fulani herdsmen and farmers should be balanced and reported professionally. Newspaper should try to do more of investigative reportage to expose parties behind the crisis so that resolution of the crisis will come from the background. Photography on the crisis should be clear and story-telling so that the people can understand the message in the report.
1.1 Background to the Study
Conflict is part of human life. Parties in any conflict situation compete for dominance. According to Ezeukwu (1998), actors in a conflict compete for available resources; they interact and oppose one another. In this regards, the actors are in constant opposition either to change the status quo or maintain the status quo. That is why the society is disorganized. It is important to establish here that almost all interactions and relationship that exist between members of the society are characterized with conflict.
The upsurge between herdsmen and famers in various parts of the country is a good example of conflict in the society. Conflict between herdsmen and farmers in some sensitive parts of the country has raised different issues. Conflict between farmers and nomadic cattle herders have also been a common feature of economic livelihood in West Africa, (Tori, 2000). This is becoming a serious crisis. It is now second to Boko Haram security issue in Nigeria.
Conflict and insecurity are major crisis that has existed in the country for couple of years. Insecurity is the feeling and state of uncertainty or anxiety about oneself because of lack of confidence; being open to danger or a threat and there is lack of protection. The causes of insecurity are also as numerous as the number of environmental and economic activities are factors that encourage crisis.
Historically, the Nigeria perspective of herdsmen and farmers crisis takes root from the global scope in Africa. According to Ofuoku (2010), in the period before the beginning of 20th century, such problems were mainly restricted to the savanna belts of West Africa. Cattle rearing where mainly prevalent in these belts: Guinea, Sudan and Sahel Savanna where crop production was carried out according to short raining season and small scale.
Ahmed-Gamgum (2018) aver that the current and most serious version of insecurity challenge facing Nigeria today is the instigation of farmers-herdsmen violent. The major effect of the conflicts are food and livestock shortages , food price increase, lost in revenue, and income, thousands of lives and household properties, cattle routes, demarcated grazing reserves farm land and towns infrastructures are frequently destroyed and or denied access.
Ofuoku, (2010) observed that cattle herders got the opportunity of having available farm land or grazing land to themselves. As time went on, and with the introduction of irrigation practice in the Savanna belt of Nigeria, and during dry season when pasture wither and unavailable to cattle herders, the herds men move down site (coastal zone) were raining is longer and soil retain moisture for long, in search of pasture and water – a movement called transhumance,
However, Shehu (2017) pointed that Fulani as a tribe is known with the business of cattle rearing. Notwithstanding this fact, a number of Nigerians and even foreigners are also found in cattle rearing. Those vulnerable to herdsmen attacks seem to condemn the entire tribe of Fulani incognizant of the innocence of the majority. Fulani herdsmen have been labeled by some Nigeria’s newspapers with various frames as a result of their clash with their farmers counterparts in Nigeria. According to Shehu (2017), average Fulani-herdsman, cattle rearing are a way of living, which is reckoned with as a mark of common heritage. In effect, any threat to his herd amounts to a threat, not only to his survival but also to his common destiny. This way of thinking is encapsulated in the following citation as credited to a Fulani-nomad.
The media especially the newspaper is always keen to report and investigate crisis event in any society. The newspaper is always at the center to connect man with the environment. As important as the media to events, the media shine when there is tension, crisis and war. Issues of war come from the human angle of news value. According to Adamu (2016), the media as an institution requires an understanding of what constitutes the sector. Clearly, the mass media consist of something beyond the specific outlets that deliver news and information moving forward.
The print media over the years have been integral part of democracy in the world and in Nigeria. According to Orhewere (2003), there are many genre of print medium which include newspaper, magazine, journal, and books. Newspaper is the most common genre of the print medium people read often which reflect all important news and provides information comments and guidelines that is most useful to its readers. It fully explains the meaning of local, national and international events which are significance to its own community by providing wise counsel in its editorial and become a public conscience. According to Nwosu (2003), a newspaper is a wholesome package of news, events, people and place in a given area and published on a predetermined frequency. This shows the level of importance of newspaper to the society.
The interpretation of the above is that newspaper is a vehicle for societal development. This is done through the reflection of societal happenings and making the position of the People to known relevant authorities vise visa. According to Nwosu (2003), the contents of a newspaper must strike a balance between all interests be it political, social, and academic, sports, ethics etc. This means that newspaper contents must touch on vital issues that affect man in the national orbit.
Newspaper has been frequently used in political setting than any other sector. This assertion is equally true based on the historical development of Nigeria democracy and mass media (Sambe, 2008). Though, that era was marked by a lot of civil unrest in the country.
Vanguard newspaper is published by Vanguard Media. It was established in 1993 by veteran journalist, Sam Amuka-Pemu with three friends. The newspaper has online edition. It sales about 120, 000 copies daily. First, the newspaper hit the news stand as a weekly newspaper. It aims is to serve the people through unflinching commitement to free enterprise, rule of law and good governance.
As at today, the paper has its stable, daily vanguard and Sunday vanguard. It has since added other titles taken care of specialized interest. These include; Finanacial Vanguard, Allure, Sweet Crude, Hitech, Sports Vanguard. Presently, Mideno Byagbon is the chief editor.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigerian newspapers are established to report events in the society. The prevailing events are captured in the newspaper pages for the people to be updated with these happenings in the society. One of the major happenings in Nigeria is the case of incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and local famers. These clashes had happen in different parts of the country and had attracted the attention of government stakeholders as well as the press.
As Fulani/ famers crisis escalates, the newspaper pages have carried these stories for the people to know what is happen and who is involve and how the crisis had happened. However, there are unanswered questions which the research want to provided. These questions cover the prominence, pattern, direction and nature at which Nigeria newspaper cover Fulani/Farmers crisis.
Therefore, the study seek to investigate the prominence, nature, frequency, magnitude and the direction of Nigeria newspaper reports on Fulani herdsmen and local farmers in Nigeria. The study will close knowledge gap from the analysis on the contents of the newspaper base on above points.
In giving answers to the questions the research method that shall be adopted are the content analysis. The coverage of this research shall be for six (6) months; from January to December 2018. In calculation, there are three sixty-five (365) publications of the Vanguard newspaper.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The purpose of this study is;
- To determine the prominence of newspaper coverage of Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis in Vanguard newspaper.
- To find out the nature of coverage of newspaper on Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis in Vanguard newspaper.
- To determine the type of report of newspaper on Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis in Vanguard newspaper.
- To ascertain the direction of newspaper coverage on Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis in Vanguard newspaper.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study.
- What is the prominence of newspaper coverage of Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis in Vanguard newspaper?
- What is the nature of coverage of newspaper on Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis in Vanguard newspaper?
- What is the type of report of newspaper on Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis in Vanguard newspaper?
- What is the direction of newspaper coverage on Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis in Vanguard newspaper?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The issue of Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis in Nigeria is becoming a great concern to everybody including government institutions, civic society and the media. Hence, the result of these findings shall benefit the followings
- Ø The newspaper organizations
- Ø Government at all levels
- Ø Civil Society
The newspaper organization shall benefit from the study because the result will better position the newspapers to know areas they have perform below belt and seek for new ways to improve their coverage by maintaining media professionalism.
The government on their part will use the findings to seek for possible way to quench this crisis as well as apportion social and legal rights and privileges to the parts involved in the crisis.
The civic society shall benefit from this study because the result will make them understand the federal character and unity in diversity.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study is on newspaper coverage of Fulani herdsmen and local farmers in Nigeria. The scope of the study shall be limited to two notable newspapers in Nigerian. These are Vanguard newspaper and the Guardian newspaper. Thus, the period for this study is one year. This covers January to D ecember 2018. The scope shall further focus on the prominence, nature, pattern and direction of the coverage of newspaper on Fulani/Farmer crisis in Nigeria.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Newspaper: This is a genre of the mass media that report events, people, and place in form of paper to the readers. It appears daily and circulates to all parts of the country.
Coverage: This is the type of report of newspaper report. It is also called beat or report for a particular issue.
Conflict: This is disagreement between two or more parties over an issue field. It is could be misunderstanding of ideology.
Dimension: This is the angle or nature newspaper reports crisis that relate to Fulani herds men and local farmers in Nigeria.
Prominence: This is the amount of importance given to a particular new story on the page of the newspaper.
Nature of type of report: This is the temperament at which cover societal issues. It is also the style of coverage.
Type of report: This is the model at which newspaper report on a particular issue. It is also the mold of coverage.
Direction of Coverage: This is the course newspaper house report event on the pages of the newspaper for the people to take for resolution.