A coalition of northern groups has issued a 30-day ultimatum to the Nigeria government and governors who opposed to the RUGA settlement program to reverse their decisions.
Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the group’s spokesman in a press conference, said the debate to accept or not to accept the program is already causing disaffection for herders who are of Fulani extraction.
“While we warn all state governments that stand against the implementation of the Ruga Initiative to desist and give peace a chance, we place President Buhari and the Federal Government on notice that they must completely stop this raging madness within 30-days beginning from today, Wednesday,” Suleiman said.
The group, however, did not state what its next line of action would be should the government fail to comply with the ultimatum.
It also believes that a referendum is the only right way to go for groups who are opposed to the idea of one Nigeria.
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.
Nigerian Government before the Ruga suspension planned the settlements in order to curb open grazing of animals that continue to pose security threats to farmers and herders.
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State revealed this at the presidential villa in Abuja on Wednesday after a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The governor 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,” Umahi said.
The Presidency on Sunday 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”.