The Presidency on Sunday evening released a statement defending the Federal Government’s planned Ruga Settlements for Fulani herders.
According to the statement, the plan for Ruga settlement was not meant to serve the interest of Fulani ethnic group alone, but to end the clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
Naija Buzz News had few days ago published how Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-political group in the South-East, and Afenifere, the apex Yoruba socio-political group in the South-West, reacted to the planned Ruga settlement.
The Presidency further accused state governors of feeding the public with wrong information against the intention of the Federal Government, adding that Ruga was voluntary, and no state would be forced to give up their land for the project.
The statement was issued by Mr. Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity.
According to him, the project was meant to serve everyone involved in animal husbandry, but mainly to stop roaming of cattle herders with the attendant clashes with farmers.
Read the statement released from Aso Rock on Sunday below;
“Ruga settlement that seeks to settle migrant pastoral families, simply means rural settlement in which animal farmers, not just cattle herders, will be settled in an organised place with provision of necessary and adequate basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets and manufacturing entities that will process and add value to meats and animal products.
“Beneficiaries will include all persons in animal husbandry, not only Fulani herders. The Federal Government is planning this in order to curb open grazing of animals that continue to pose security threats to farmers and herders.
“The overall benefit to the nation includes a drastic reduction in conflicts between herders and farmers, a boost in animal protection complete with a value chain that will increase the quality and hygiene of livestock in terms of beef and milk production, increased quality of feeding and access to animal care and private sector participation in commercial pasture production by way of investments.”
“Stripped of the politics and howling that has attended the recent comments, there is no government plan to seize state land, colonise territory or impose Ruga on any part of the federation. Government has made it clear time and again that the programme is voluntary.
“So far, 12 states have applied to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, making lands available for the take-off of the scheme in their states. This number is sufficient for the pilot scheme.
“Unfortunately, some state governments that have not signified interest in the scheme and, therefore, are not on the invitation list, have been misleading people that the Federal Government is embarking on a scheme to take away their lands.”
“Mostly, these are state leaders that have no explanation to offer their people for continued non-payment of workers’ salaries.”
“It is true that government at the centre has gazetted lands in all states of the federation but because the idea is not to force this programme on anyone, the government has limited the take-off to the dozen states with valid requests.”
“We urge states to join the Federal Government at the centre in encouraging all sides to these conflicts to make efforts towards finding a peaceful resolution.”
“As we seek a permanent solution to these unwanted conflicts, efforts must be made to ensure that no innocent person faces any kind of deprivation or loss of right and freedom under our laws. “
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.