Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) on Tuesday warned the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, to
stop debasing the Senate in his bid to convince the Executive arm of government that he is a rubber stamp, particularly over the alleged role he is playing to bring up the defeated Bill on Water Banks across the country in pursuit of the Ruga policy and other domination quests.
SMBLF also warned Senator Ita Enang, former Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters, on the same Ruga policy, expressing disgust over his utterances, which the leaders described as untruths and wide claims in his desperate effort to get re-appointed.
The leaders gave this warning in a statement jointly issued by Mr Yinka Odumakin for South- West, Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South), Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South- East) and Dr Isua Dogo (Middle- Belt), copy of which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune.
SMBLF, while handing over the warning, said Lawan had been trying to bring up the defeated bill, by flaunting his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) majority in the Senate.
According to the leaders, such behaviour on his part shows his lack of understanding of the fact that national cohesion overrides the number of members of any party in parliament, saying there was a need for Senator Lawan to understudy how the British Parliament had behaved across party lines.
“SMBLF also warns the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, to stop debasing the Senate in his bid to convince the Executive arm of government that he is a rubber stamp.
“We have noticed how he has been trying to bring up the defeated bill through which the Executive arm sought to take over water banks across the country in pursuit of the Ruga policy and other domination quests.
“His flaunting of the APC majority in Senate shows a lack of understanding of the fact that national cohesion overrides the number of any party in parliament. He should understudy how the British Parliament has behaved across party lines,” the statement said.
SMBLF further cautioned that the wisdom of the Land Use Act in vesting lands in governors through whom the Federal Government can apply for spaces for projects should never be violated in order not to heat up the polity, noting that the country was currently in a precarious situation for which all those who were holding temporary offices should avoid doing permanent damage to it.
“The wisdom of the Land Use Act in vesting lands in Governors through whom the Federal can apply for spaces for projects should never be violated in order not to heat up the polity,” SMBLF warned.
“Nigeria is presently in a precarious situation and all those who are holding temporary offices should not do permanent damage to the country,” it further warned.
While equally warning former presidential aides, Enang, on same Ruga policy, SMBLF described the statement credited to him that Ruga was not derived from Hausa or Fulani language, but an acronym for Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) initiated in 1956 during the colonial era as a pure lie.
The leaders also faulted Enang on the assurance he gave that Ruga policy was not intended to Islamise, Fulanise or colonise the country.
“This a pure lie, we challenge him to tell us what Cow Settlement is called in Hausa other than Ruga.
“He also assured it was not intended to Islamise, Fulanise or colonise anybody.
We want him to give us the number of Fulani who have indicated that they want to relocate to the South outside Fulanis from Senegal, Niger, Mali etc who will have territories created for them under Ruga policy. This is Fulanisation and colonialism,” SMBLF stated.
Furthermore, the leaders took on the former presidential aide on the issue of budgetary provision for Ruga, which he said was inserted in the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development item, just because “the National Assembly members are not against the Ruga programme” as they were aware of it and had been approving funds for its implementation, saying they would want him to show them where such was contained in the budget.
They said even if such provision was inserted “wrong-headedly,” it was still not appropriate for the citizens to pursue a programme that could break- up to the country because such was inserted in the budget.
“We want him to hold our hands and show us Ruga in the budget. Even if it was put there wrong-headedly, must we pursue a programme that can break-up the country because it was inserted in the budget? Has he never heard the word virement in all his days in the National Assembly?” they queried.
The leaders, while maintaining their strong opposition to Ruga policy, said they were ready to offer him halls free of charge in as many cities as he wanted so that he could engage on Ruga sensitisation tours to convince the peoples of Southern and Middle-Belt of Nigeria.
“He ended with a call on the Southern States to drop opposition to the policy. We of the Southern and Middle Belt communities are offering him halls free of charge in as many cities as he wants so he can engage on Ruga sensitisation tours to convince our peoples,” SMBLF concluded.