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Nigerian Govt. Bows To Public Pressure, Suspends RUGA Settlement

Unic Press UK: The Federal Government of Nigeria has suspended the implementation of the RUGA Settlement programme, says the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi.

Speaking Wednesday in Abuja, Mr Umahi said:

“We are aware today that Mr President has suspended the implementation of Ruga programme initiated and being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources because it is not consistent with the NEC and Federal Government approved National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), which has programmes of rehabilitation of displaced IDPs, resulting from the crisis and also development of ranches in any willing state of the federation,” the Premium Times reports.

The RUGA Settlement has since been rejected by several states, including Benue, Rivers, Edo, and several states of Southern Nigeria. In the case of the Benue State government, the Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase had issued a statement on June 25, 2019, saying:

“Governor Samuel Ortom made the stand of Benue State known during the unveiling of the Livestock Development Programme in Abuja last year. He stressed that the State would embrace the policy only if it supports implementation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.During the National Council on Agriculture summit which took place in Owerri, Imo State in April this year, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture attempted to impose Ruga settlement patterns on the states but the Benue State delegation seized the opportunity to remind the summit that Benue State has a law on ranching which has phased out open grazing.”

The RUGA Settlement initiative has been a political hot potato in Nigeria. It is widely/strongly opposed by the people of southern Nigeria, who believe the settlement plan is a deceitful means of forcing them to cede their ancestral lands to the notorious Fulani cattle herders.

In an interview with a United States-based news medium Sahara Reporters, a former presidential candidate Martin Onovo called on the Nigeria people to oppose the RUGA Settlement, accusing the Federal Government of pursuing the implementation of an illegality, thereby disrespecting the spirit and letters of the Land Use Act.

“They want to take your land, create a Fulani territory, and takeover your state. That’s all. It’s a land grabbing agenda. That is the “Islamization and Fulanization,” Onovo said in reference to the proposed RUGA Settlement.

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