We’re 100 per cent in support of Ruga scheme

The chairman of the Nasarawa State chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN, Alhaji Mohammad Huseni speaks with GODWIN ENA on the Ruga scheme and its import for the nation.

 

WHAT is your take on the Federal Government’s plan to establish Ruga settlements in some states of the federation?

We are 100 per cent in support of Ruga settlement, because of the advantages and benefits attached to the scheme are many. Many people don’t know these and that’s why they are crying wolf about the whole issue.

 

But people have been reading different meanings to the scheme, saying it is an agenda to Fulanise Nigeria…

The Ruga settlement is only meant for the livestock owners and the Federal Government has planned the pilot scheme to see how they can settle the nomadic Fulani in one place to reduce their movement from one place to another. You know that their movements from one place to another usually cause one problem after the other. So, the advantages of Ruga settlement are that it will improve security of lives and properties in the states, because we don’t know the kind of people that enter the country, especially from the neighbouring countries. But when settled in one place there would be security in place and we will be able to ascertain the situation of things on the state of insecurity in the country.

Another advantage of the Ruga settlement scheme is that it will allow for the integration of the Fulani in modern farming mechanism. It will make provision for ranching. What a Fulani man wants is for his cattle to be fed and that has been the essence of his movement from one place to the other. Take for instance, if there is provision of grasses here in Nasarawa State, the Fulani would stay here and be feeding their cattle. There will be no need of going to Aba, Delta and Enugu to rear animals. Thirdly and most importantly, the Ruga settlement would help to eliminate the farmer-herders conflicts bedevilling the country. That is, it will help curtail the movement of Fulani and checkmate activities of criminal elements among the good ones and this will put an end to the lingering crisis in Nigeria.

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The Ruga will also help to control the spread of animal disease and other diseases from animals to human. There would be also proper vaccination of animals in their settlement. Finally, the settlement will create opportunity for the nomadic to access formal education and reduce cattle rustling among others.

 

But the Federal Government is being accused of failing to hold enough consultation on the scheme, which led to the public outcry. What is your view on this?

The government has done enough consultation by informing traditional rulers and leaders of ethnic nationalities in Nasarawa State. The government and everybody are aware of the plans. I am aware that government gave invitation to traditional rulers and set up committees to look into it and we collectively agreed to construct Ruga settlement for the Fulani.

We are highly impressed by the support of the governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulahi Sule, for the scheme.  Any governor that does not want Ruga settlement in his state is a lover of crisis and doesn’t want farmers-herders clashes to end in Nigeria. Such governor wants the crisis to continue so that he will continue to receive security votes all the time. We are suggesting that Federal Government should penalise any governor who is not ready for the Ruga settlement.

Since the government has informed MIYETI Allah about the establishment of Ruga, it shows that our people are aware, because we have structures from the state to wards levels. so Fulani in Nasarawa state are not only aware of the plan, but are in full support of the move.

In fact, there would be no problems at all despite the out cry by some people who don’t have understanding to what the Ruga meant and the benefits therein. The lands are gazetted areas meant for grazing, and you know both the people and land are all government’s properties and if government chooses to build Ruga settlement on its properties, nobody would stop her. They are doing that to prevent crisis between famers and herders in the country.

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