The Mbororo Problem in North West Cameroon a Historical Investigation
The Mbororos are predominantly nomadic people located almost exclusively within the savannah zone of West and Central Africa, and whose original home is said to be the Senegambia region. From Senegal, the Mbororos continued their movement alongside their cattle and headed to Northern Nigeria. The 19th century Jihad movement and epidemic outbreaks force them to move from Northern Nigeria to Northern Cameroon. From Northern Cameroon, they moved south and started penetrating the North West Region in the early 20th Century. The Mbororos were warmly welcomed by their hosts because of their economic input reflected in the cattle they introduced in the region and the heavy taxes paid to the government. The quest for grazing land in an environment of increasing population of farmers puts the Mbororos on daily conflicts with their neighbouring farmers. Henceforth, the Mbororos were regarded as “undesirable aliens” and the local farming population clamoured for their expulsion. This paper critically examines and analyzes the problems faced by the Mbororos in their attempt to gain citizenship in Northwest Cameroon and be accepted by the local population. It also looks at the difficulties of their integration in the region. The paper begins by briefly examining the migration, settlement and ultimate acquisition of the status of nationals by the nomadic cattle Mbororos in the North West region of Cameroon. Beginning from 1970, with President Ahidjo in power, the Mbororos were not more perceived as “aliens”. Nonetheless, farmer-grazier conflict kept on being a recurrent issue in the North West Region. This fact, coupled with others had sustained xenophobic feelings towards the Mbororos. The Cameroonian government of recent together with some stake holders has been looking for lasting solution to the perennial farmer-grazier problem. This is to enable both the Mbororos and local population to live in peace and harmony.
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