From: Azeez Ibrahim, Abuja
The Federal Government on Wednesday suspended the controversial Ruga Settlement initiative planned to address the farmers and herders clashes.
The Presidency had earlier claimed that the effort would benefit all persons in the livestock sub sector and “not only Fulani herders.”
According to a report by ChannelsTV, a source in the Presidency disclosed the suspension while an official statement is expected for release after the Governors’ Forum meeting.
Though, the initiative had generated heated controversy, especially among the South-South, South-East and South-West populace with reactions from the State governors.
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, for instance was among Governors against the idea of ceding lands to ‘outsiders’, following an attack on a hunter killed by unknown gunmen believed to be herders.
According to a statement released by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, the presidency said the programme is not a scheme to reposition the Fulani people, adding that no state has been forced to partake of the initiative.
The presidency’s statement partially reads: “The Presidency wishes to draw attention to recent unhelpful comments regarding the plan to stop roaming of cattle herders with the attendant clashes with farmers.
“Ruga Settlement” that seeks to settle migrant pastoral families simply means rural settlement in which animal farmers, not just cattle herders, will be settled in an organized 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.
“Beneficiaries will include all persons in animal husbandry, not only Fulani herders.”