Prof. Wole Soyinka at the inauguration of the United Nations Solutions 17 SDG programme in Lagos warned the Federal Government that the Ruga herdsmen settlements issue could cause the country to explode.
“Ruga is going to be an explosion if not handled with care,” Soyinka said.
According to the Nobel Laureate, the proposed Ruga project was not the best approach to resolving the herders-farmers clashes.
Naija Buzz News had reported how the southern region and some north-central states vehemently rejected the idea of Ruga Settlement.
The South-East Governors had repeatedly rejected the establishment of any settlement for herders in the region. The Igbo governors however noted that they were ready to provide grass in exchange for herdsmen meat.
Also, the governors in the South-West zone and Afenifere, the apex socio-political group in the zone, had rejected the Ruga project on any Yoruba land.
Naija Buzz News reported how Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Ekiti State, who is a chieftain of the ruling party, in an apparent reply to the Federal Government Ruga Project, noted that as long as he is governor, nobody would come and take Ekiti land.
The presidency however in a statement (which was published on Naija Buzz News) through Mr. Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, accused state governors in the southern parts of the nation of misleading the public against the FG efforts to end farmers/herdsmen clashes.
Speaking about the project, Soyinka noted that the Ruga settlement idea was a bad one.
“Ruga is going to be an explosion if not handled with care. But why do we not take our policies from good models?
“This is not the way people and countries deal with issues of cattle. I travel everywhere. It has to be handled in a way that is logical, comprehensible to the environment. When a cow walks up to the window of my house in Abeokuta, a house which is located in a residential area, then there’s a problem.
“When a cow goes to Ijebu Ode and eats up their seedlings and so on and you expect people to be quiet? People have been killed in hundreds just because of the failure of leadership at a critical time.
“And the cattle herders have been given a sense of impunity. They kill without any compunction, they drive away the farmers who have been contributing to the food solutions in the country, the cattle eat their crops and then you come up with Ruga.
“I think that there is going to be trouble in this country if this Ruga thing is not handled imaginatively and with humanity as priority. Any country where cattle take priority over human life is definitely at an elementary stage.”
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.