Why S’West rejects RUGA scheme – Vanguard

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By Dapo Akinrefon THE South West geo-political zone has explained why it will not support the planned construction of Ruga settlements in the zone. Herdsmen along with their cows wait for buyers at Kara Cattle Market in Lagos, Nigeria, on April 10, 2019. – Kara cattle market in Agege, Lagos is one of the largest of West Africa receiving thousands of cows weekly due to the massive consumption of meat in Lagos area. (Photo / AFP)Pandemonium, as armed herdsmen invade Imo community(Opens in a new browser tab) Leaders of the zone unanimously rejected the scheme. Opposing the scheme, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere described the Ruga project an expansionist policy warning that if allowed, it may spell doom. Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin told Vanguard that the South West will not concede an inch of our land to Ruga Odumakin said: Ruga is an expansionist policy in furtherance of Fulanisation project. It seeks to use the might of the FG to take over ancestral land across and hand it over to herdsmen. “If the project is allowed, non-Fulani communities would experience what Hausas experienced when Fulani walked into their space and took over all their institutions “The South West will not concede an inch of our land to Ruga. To do so will be a betrayal of Yoruba warriors who pushed the Fulani back in Osogbo in the days of Jihad .They would have enslaved Yoruba since that time but for our gallant fighters.” Project suspended Though President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the implementation of the project under the National Livestock Transformation Plan, the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE and the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere were among the groups that vehemently condemned the Federal Government’s proposed settlement Also amid the Ruga controversy, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State also vowed not to cede any of the state to outsiders. Why we introduced Ruga—Presidency The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, had made some clarifications on the controversial Ruga settlement. But his clarifications did not go down with leaders of the region as they sank their fangs on the Presidential aide. Shehu noted that there is no difference between cattle ranching and the Ruga settlement plan and no state government has been coerced to be a part of it. In an attempt to set the records straight, the Presidential aide said: “Let me say that the Ruga settlement plan is the same thing as ranching as proposed by many stakeholders including some state governments that have promulgated anti-grazing laws to the effect that they had banned that practice in favour of cattle ranching. “Cattle-ranching is the same thing as Ruga it’s six and half a dozen – what really is the difference, why is the Federal Government introducing it? “It is being introduced in order to stop the roaming of cattle which had been met with incidents of clashes between farmers and herdsmen so everyone had come to the conclusion that this was a bad practice. “So we want to settle them down and let them do their business there so what is the Federal Government doing other than this… asking state governments if they wish to be a part of this. All the states that have signed on to it, have done so by application and they have met given criteria.” We’re not ready to accommodate herdsmen —YCE Angry reactions, however, elicited the Presidency’s position on the Ruga settlement. Joining the league of dissenting voices against the Ruga settlements, the YCE maintained that the South West is not ready to accommodate the herdsmen. The stance of the elders was stated in a statement by the Council’s President, Dansaaki Ade Agbede in Ibadan. The YCE wondered how a group of people that are being seen as threat to peace and security of others would now be made to own settlements in places outside their own domain? The statement reads: “To now think that the Federal Government that should be concerned and worried about the untoward activities of such people is the sponsor of Ruga is worrisome and disturbing. “Such a project is not at all in the best interest of this country. Virtually all the states outside of the domains of the Fulani herdsmen are against the project and Yoruba speaking states are not exception.” YCE, which is also known as Egbe Igbimo Agba Yoruba maintained that the recent experience of the people in the hands of the herdsmen “leaves much to be desired with our spirit of openess and accommodation being eroded. We can’t fold our arms and allow our land to be overrun by strangers.” The elders warned the governors of the six states of Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun to be on guard and let the Federal Government know the stance of their people on the matter, saying, “this is not about politics or political party affiliation, it is about patriotism and responsibility to the people that elected them into office. “As the highest body of Yoruba socio-cultural group, we are saying emphatic NO to the construction of Fulani settlements in any of the states in the Yoruba speaking area of the country. Our land is for the establishment of industries and farming and not cattle grazing and we are expressing our vehement opposition to the project, which to us is nothing but an expansionist agenda.” I won’t cede Ekiti land to outsiders—Fayemi Also, throwing his weight behind YCE and Afenifere, Governor Fayemi, who is also chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, assured the people of the state that he would not cede any part of Ekiti land to outsiders He said non-indigenes wishing to settle in the state or do business must respect the culture of the indigenous people and must pursue their interest in line with the law of the land. Fayemi said: “Nobody is coming to take our land in Ekiti, the governor of Ekiti State has power over the land of Ekiti and it is the person that the governor gives land in Ekiti that can use the land of Ekiti. “If there are negative comments being peddled around that some people are coming to take over Ekiti land, take over Orin land, take over Ido land, it’s a mere hearsay. “It cannot happen in Ekiti except I am no longer the governor of Ekiti State and there is nobody that can be governor in Ekiti that will cede Ekiti land to outsiders because our land is not even enough for us.” You can’t force it on us—Aare Adams Also reacting, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Aare Gani Adams said: “How can they force people and states to accept the Ruga project? They should understand that the land belongs to the state governments; it will be difficult for such project to be implemented. This is a project that cannot hold water. We have earlier said that the project is  dead on arrival.”