Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje said plans have commenced on the establishment of Rural Grazing Area (Ruga) settlement in the state.
“In Kano, having looked at all the issues concerned, both at the national and state level, we decided to create RUGA settlements in our forests that are existing and with the help of Islamic development bank, grazing areas will be provided,” Ganduje said during the inauguration of a 16-man committee for the herdsmen settlement in the state
The 16 man committee, led by Jibirilla Ahmed, is to also determine the type of social and infrastructure services that will be provided for the settlement.
The federal government suspended the plan to establish such settlements in some parts of the country following outcries that it was a subtle to ‘fulanise’ and Islamise the country.
The herdsmen, the chief beneficiaries of the settlements, are indigenous to the predominantly Muslim north.
With spates of fatal clashes between the herdsmen and the farmers in north-central and southern states, the plan to establish the ranches for herdsmen was unattractive, especially to governors of southern states.
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State who revealed the suspension at the presidential villa in Abuja after a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the reason the planned Ruga was suspended because it was not consistent with the National Livestock Transformation Plan.
He noted that the NLTP approved by the National Economic Council and the Federal Government is a voluntary programme to all the 36 states who like to participate.
“It is not compulsory, it is for any state that is willing, will key into the programme. Any state that is interested in this programme is required to bring up a development plan that is keyed towards the implementation in line with our own programme here that is unique to his state based on the challenges that he has in respect of the crisis. That’s the decision of this committee.”
The Ruga initiative drew the ire and condemnation of some state governors who insisted there is no land for ranches and cattle colonies in their state.
The Federal Government before the suspension planned the settlements in order to curb open grazing of animals that continue to pose security threats to farmers and herders.
The Presidency, however, clarified that the Ruga settlements seek to settle animal farmers, not just cattle herders, in an “organised place with provision of necessary and adequate basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets and manufacturing entities that will process and add value to meats and animal products”.
The Benue State Government had said that it will not be part of the project, rejecting the “attempt to impose the Ruga settlement projects on them without the consent and approval of the governor who controls and administers the land in the state in trust for the people.”
“We wish to make it clear that no land in Benue State has been gazetted for grazing routes, grazing reserves, cattle colonies and Ruga settlements, contrary to the Presidency’s claim,” Terver Akase, the spokesman of Governor Samuel Ortom said in a statement.
Ganduje, however, asked the committee to look at the socio-cultural parameters of establishing the settlements and how it can make it a viable economic venture.
“It is more of socio-cultural, rather than socio-economic and it has to change to socio-economic, otherwise, it will continue to be an uneconomic venture.
Thanks for Reading.