No To RUGA

No To RUGA

THE cattle business stands out as one simple challenge the Buhari administration has found too difficult to tackle simply because even the policy maker known for candor and uprightness cannot disclose to the public the true omission and objective of the business as originally conceived.  In the journey of life, age, experience and the call of office may affect the stand that is taken, and efforts to justify it.

THE perennial clashes between herdsmen and farmers, and communities would no doubt have given Mr President much brooding to do.  When his government proposed to open cattle ranches all over the country, it must have been an effort expected to bring relief.  But the experience of host communities that had accepted Fulani herdsmen in the past that were rewarded with forceful occupation and expansion, has also informed the feedback.  Heartless reaction to wanton destruction of crops and farmlands in the form of chopping of limbs and heads and victorious walk away from crimes and scenes, suggest official conspiracy.  When Mr President appealed to victim communities to learn to live in peace with neighbours, not a few of his own supporters, promoters and defenders were put to shame.

FINDING solution to the problem of herdsmen has not been helped by disclosure of government intention to appease the cattle rearers by paying them N200 billion was taken by law abiding citizens as an insult taken too far. Then came the official statement by the Federal Government to procure an AM radio license to communicate in Fulfulde language, that is, for government to be in touch with them assuring to be with them always even to the point of their operations!  Granted that the population of the Fulani, herdsmen and all, is about 13 million in a demography of over 200 million citizens, this pampering is considered out of place.

WHEN the RUGA settlement was proposed, it was clear to even doubting Thomas that with the novel development of kidnapping, rape, victim execution, ransom taking, is RUGA settlement an appropriate reward or an enabling policy?  It was when it appeared that explosion might erupt even when tectonic plates had been taken for being inactive, that the Federal Government showed its most magnanimous reaction of suspending the RUGA settlement policy.  What an official suspension, what a benevolent reaction!

TO expect the majority of Nigerians to agree to surrender 30kilometres of ancestral land per local council area to 13 million of their fellow citizens appears illogical.  The rationale behind such a policy package either as RUGA settlement or PLTPA or whatever name or abbreviation cannot be patriotic because it is not in the place of Nigeria to supply the land mass needed for physical nurture, husbandry and allocation of a continental tribal commodity.  Specifically, the various Fulani nationals of Mali, Sudan, Senegal, Niger, and Chad and beyond are to be found on our farmyards are not patrons of our official borders.  They sure have a trans-Saharan-Cattle-route not known or forbidden to official duties of Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Immigration Service.  The way the criminals among the herdsmen mindlessly plunder, maim and kill our citizen demonstrate, they do not stand with us in brotherhood, and would only rejoice at displacing us from our inheritance, obliterate our cultures and impose their pastoral nomadic heritage.

WE of The Hope believe that ambition should be of a saner stuff. And this, Mr President demonstrated a couple of days ago, when he signed on behalf of Nigeria, a trade agreement between African nations.  Employing modern technology and haulage system would geometrically improve productivity and income of cattle farmers.  It would also expand the scope of the business beyond Africa.  Again modern business practice could help to dignify cattle rearing, popularize the profession and diversify the potentials of those who have fatalistically limited themselves to a nomadic lifestyle and conservative economic returns.

AT The HOPE, we believe that a scientific national policy in animal husbandry would accommodate all livestock farmers and provide diversity in choices open to consumers for better health, vitality and economy of scale.

THE modern economy has no accommodation for occupation and profession shrouded in secrecy and fraternity.  They risk abortion in the policy process and imminent summersault in clandestine implementation.

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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