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Herdsmen RUGA: Modern Neocolonialism By Fulanis

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Nigeria News takes a look at the “Ruga Scheme” being planned by the Federal Government for the herders.

The perception of the office of the vice president Yemi Osinbajo about livestock production Economy of Large scale is very much different from what the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association of Nigeria has in mind.

The National Economic Council has approved the National Livestock Transformation Plan, which the vice president office will supervise, according to the media Aide of the vice president, Mr. Laolu Akande.

But the explanation of the Miyetti Allah has popped up a discourse on a possible modern neo-colonialism in which State government must donate lands for herdsmen settlement scheme.

Recalled that when the issue of grazing land was raised a few years ago, many of the States kicked against the option, saying they would never give their lands to herdsmen.

With “Ruga idea”, it seems the Federal Government has coined out a new name to impose the herdsmen settlement scheme on Nigeria.

According to findings, the implementation of Ruga will entail that over 300 hectares of land are given to herdsmen as a settlement in every State.

About 12 States in the north had bought into this scheme, according to the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Shehu Garba.

But an investigation also revealed that an average local government area in Nigeria occupies about 300 hectares of land.

Invariably, herdsmen settlement will be occupying a local government in every State with their cattle and plan to produce Livestock, cheese and milk for economic purpose.

The settlement will also have schools, hospitals and other modern infrastructure to cater for the livestock industry and the investors.

This has been the song of Miyetti Allah, the umbrella body of the Fulani herdsmen. But most non-Fulani States across the country are not ready to agree with this term because of the aggression of these cattle breeders.

Of course, no State will like to reject a peaceful livestock producer but the violence of the herdsmen has created fear so much that the southern States do not want to accommodate them.

The Federal Government believes that the best way to stop the farmers-herdsmen hostility in the country is by creating a colony for the herders by not allowing them to move around to the point that their cattle will destroy crops.

But the domineering tendency of the Fulani herdsmen has become a source of worry for other ethnic groups who believe that ceding part of their lands to the herders will definitely result in a crisis in the future.

Fulani herdsmen encroach lands indiscriminately even when they do not have the backing of the federal government.

Now that the government has come up with the “RUGA” scheme, there are indications that the herders will take the law into their hands to invade more of people’s land and kill the owners.

The herders are uneducated. They are nomadic and with this, it is doubtful if they can identify boundaries of the RUGA scheme.

This is another form of neo-colonialism in which the herdsmen dictate how far the landowners can go and what they can and cannot do on their own lands.

Though Osinbajo’s office has denied having hands in the Ruga scheme, the government must be bold enough to make public of the blueprint of the National Livestock Transformation Agenda.

Is it a cattle ranching or cattle colony? Is it an industrial estate or herdsmen settlement scheme?

If not, what is the modality behind the Ruga being peddled by Miyatti Allah and what makes it different from the National Livestock Transformation Plan?

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