- A retired police commissioner, Abubakar Tsav, said the Ruga issue has been politicised by a lot of people
- The former commissioner said the government should not have suspended the programme
- Tsav urged the government to allow interested states to go on with it
Abubakar Tsav has described as unfortunate the decision by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to suspend the implementation of the Ruga programme.
The president had suspended the programme due to what many described as criticism against it particularly from state governors.
In an interview with The Sun, the retired commissioner of police from Benue state said the programme would have benefitted both farmers and herders.
He said: “It is most unfortunate that whenever the government comes up with any programme that is good for the development of this country and the society such programme will be politicised. The Ruga programme is similar to ranching; they are more or less the same thing. The Ruga is a settlement for Fulani headers and the ranches is also a settlement for Fulani headers; they both have the same objective. All we have is just a change of name.”
The former commissioner expressed optimism that if the programme is allowed all over the country, it will reduce conflict in the nation.
He wrote: “I am of the opinion that if the programme is established all over the country, they will be able to restrict the movement of the Fulani headers and their cattle with the attendant issues of conflicts and destruction of farmlands and crops would be reduced. Some people argue that land belongs to the farmers and ultimately belongs to the stated governor who has been vested with control over all the land but ultimately it is God that provides the land. If these herders are settled, it will stop the destruction of land. The Ruga programme would have brought a lot of benefit to us. It would have been a source of hides and skin which could be exported for revenue. There are also other bye products like cheese. It would also create jobs, including for those selling animal feed.”
Tsav commended the government for being responsive to the people’s opinion but said the programme should commence in states that have accepted it. According to the him the federal government suspended it because people kicked against it, and being a responsive government, it listened to the people.
He said if he were to be in position of authority he will tell states that are willing to do it to go ahead and by the time others see the benefit of the programme they too can join. He added that the programme should be made optional so interested states can go ahead with it.
Tsav said: “Ruga should be optional, any state that wants to sign up to Ruga should be allowed to do so. If it is done at the pilot level and at the end all the states of the federation decide to sign up to it after they must have found it a worthy venture it will be good. I think that is the best thing to do. It should be optional; to say you are cancelling the whole thing is not good. Government should provide a conducive atmosphere for farmers to carry out their activities because in Benue State we have no other source of livelihood apart from farming. So, when herdsmen invade our farms, they destroy our livelihood. To allow cattle herdsmen to roam about destroying out farms is very unfair. I think the best we can do is to abide by the grazing law which has been promulgated in Benue state. However, at the same time the government should create ranches. The herdsmen cannot create these ranches on their own.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the Coalition of Northern Groups issued a warning to some state governors who rejected Ruga settlement to reconsider it within 30 days, to allow peace reign.
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