Obed Nnaji Asiegbu, the immediate past Senior Special Adviser to the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, on E-Governance, has criticized the federal government’s earlier plan to establish Ruga Settlements in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier suspended his administration’s plan to build Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) settlements in some states across Nigeria.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi said, “the suspension is owing to lack of consistency with the NEC and FG approved national livestock transformation plan, which has programme of rehabilitation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) resulting from the crisis and development of ranching in any willing state.
Reacting in an interview with newsmen on Monday evening, in Umuahia, the state capital, Asiegbu asserted, “I must commend governors, stakeholders and religious leaders particularly, from the South East zone, who have come out openly to kick against Ruga Settlement. The issue of Ruga settlement should not be considered. How can you give a land to people who are doing their own business? Acquire land from indigenous people, using government money to buy land for Fulani herdsmen. It is not right.
“And I want to state categorically clear, Ruga Settlement should be discarded. I must also laud the suspension of the plan by the Nigerian government. Let me tell you, apart from the Ruga Settlement, these Fulani herdsmen, have challenged our constitution. If you look at our 1999 constitution that made us operate federal system of government, did not make any provision for Ruga Settlement.
“The same constitution did not allow for Sharia law, these same people and Buhari succeeded making it a law, in a secular country like Nigeria. Now, they want to impose Ruga Settlement. Nigerians are now suspicious about them (herdsmen). Nigeria people are poised to combat the herdsmen attacks, no matter the guise or name the Buhari-led administration is trying to give it.
“This is 21 century. In a modern world, you don’t see people moving cattle or cows to places. They (herdsmen) are entrepreneurs, let them go and apply for loans if they don’t have, to build ranches. They should acquire lands and build ranches. We, the South east zone, will not allow them for settlement. They should go to the banks, collect money and build ranches. We can give them land, in the east, if they can pay.”