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Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has urged those opposed to the setting up of Fulani herdsmen settlements, popularly called Ruga, across the country to drop their opposition and allow the policy take off.
The Forum submitted that the Northern region has been the worst hit by the farmers/herders clashes compared to the Southeast and Southwest geopolitical zones.
It, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the 19 northern states governors need to act without further delay to save the situation.
In an interview with Sun newspaper, the ACF General Secretary, Anthony Sani, said: “RUGA is settlements of nomads which the federal government and some state governments want to encourage in bigger sizes in the hope of encouraging sedentary way of life away from nomadic culture that is amenable to clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
“In order to stave off such tendencies, the governments wish to help nomads establish and manage bigger settlements that are still called RUGA for the express purpose of encouraging sedentary way of life and the husbandry leading to establishment and management of ranches for common good.
“I, therefore, do not see the wisdom of the opposition to open grazing by nomads and also opposition at the same time to any programmes as precursor for establishment and management of ranches that is the preferred national choice.
“More distressing is the argument by the opposition to the scheme that government has no reasons for getting involved in ranches that are private business concerns.
“And they do this strident opposition without due regard to the fact that governments have established river basins and dams in order to improve productivity in agriculture across the country. Governments have also been subsidizing agricultural inputs like tractors and fertilizers. We are also aware that there are certain private concerns that are regarded as ‘too big to fail’.
“Hence, the significance of bailout to banks and discos for distribution of power. As Nigerians, nomads are also entitled to some form of support from government.
“It is, therefore, gross injustice to allow the activities of some criminal herdsmen who do not act on behalf of the entire herdsmen, majority of whom are innocent to make some Nigerians oppose any action of governments on herdsmen, however good.”