Leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Edwin Clarke has advised the Federal Government against bringing back the plan to establish Ruga settlements across the country.
Ruga settlements, which was proposed by the Federal Government as a solution to herders-farmers crisis, was suspended last week. However, some quarters still fear that it may be reintroduced again.
Reacting to reports that the plan may be reintroduced by FG, Edwin Clarke who addressed journalists in Abuja on Monday said:
“Let us go back, we have been living with Fulani and their herds for very long time; even when I was young, they lived with us. When they are bringing their cows, they used their sticks and everybody gave way but today we see herdsmen armed with Ak-47 all over the country moving around, killing people, raping women, killing children and so forth, destroying farms and today not one single one has been arrested, no single one has been caught and his gun removed; that is the country we belong,” the elderstatesman said.
Edwin Clarke questioned why government wants to establish settlements for the same Herdsmen whom they say are not Nigerians.
“Government is not interested in seeing that the herdsmen with arms that came from Niger, Libya and other places are addressed; they want those people to be settled in our midst. It is not the Fulani who are going round with cows that they want to settle. These (foreigners) are not the ones they want to settle. So I disagree with that project.”
Clark described the project as an abomination and called on the Federal Government to not just suspended it but cancel it.
“They should now withdraw it completely. Whether they suspend it for another 10 years or so, if it comes back, Nigeria will not survive as a country. It is good they withdrew it. If they say they have just suspended it and they are bringing it back, no Nigerian will agree to it and that may be the beginning of the disintegration of this country. God forbid!”
He advised that the solution to the crisis between farmers and herders is ranching.
“Ranching is the solution. If you want to maintain cattle rearing, it is ranching. That is what operates everywhere in the world. Even in less civilised developed countries in Africa. If you go to Brazil and East Africa, ranching is what they are doing. Even our founding fathers in the first republic established ranches. There were ranches at Obudu Cross River State, Ondo State and in the north. Nobody kicked against it but for you to introduce a settlement for resolving the problem between herdsmen and farmers is unthinkable,” he added.