Ifeanyi Onwuzuruigbo, Department of Political Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria
The past two decades have witnessed the adoption of democratic governance in several African nation-states. Some institutions and sectors reap the dividends of democracy. Many do not. Forest and natural resource sectors are yet to be democratised. As such terminologies like ‘blood diamond’ and ‘resource curse’ are used to describe forest governance and the stewardship of the continent’s rich natural resources. Drawing on primary and secondary sources of information, the paper demonstrates how weak forest governance yields ungoverned forest spaces that currently provide safe haven for cattle bandits in northern Nigeria. The paper further explains why existing policy initiatives at mitigating cattle banditry have failed and concludes by proffering ‘evidence - informed decision-making’ (EIDM) policy options that might retrieve control of the forests and natural resources from their criminal lords and ultimately curb cattle banditry in northern Nigeria.