Herdsmen’s Crisis: Matawalle Asks Northern Govs to Embrace RUGA


By Deji Elumoye

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State yesterday advised northern gvernors to brace up and construct grazing grounds, popularly called Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) to end to the recurring crisis between farmers and herders in some parts of the country.

Matawalle, who spoke with journalists yesterday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, stressed that solution is in sight for the recurring crisis between farmers and herders in the country, adding that part of the solution include preventing herdsmen from moving from one place to another.

The governor, who said he was in the State House to brief President Buhari on security matters affecting his state, was optimistic that the problem of clashes between farmers and herders can be resolved.

He therefore, advised all state governments to brace up and construct grazing grounds, popularly called Rural Grazing Area (RUGA), so as to solve the problem.

According to him, “In my State I am constructing RUGA for them, it is like a settlement, where we can contain some of them because sincerely speaking, if we allow them to be going round, migrating from one state to another, we cannot bring this issue to an end.

“So, the only thing the governors will do; we are discussing on that is to make sure we contain them in one place. Like the Fulani form Zamfara shouldn’t migrate to a neighbouring state.

“But how are we going to do that? This is something that needs a lot of resources because you have to create something that you will use to engage them; you have to provide some social amenities. Like the RUGA that we are constructing, we have schools, hospital, veterinary clinic, market and even mini stadium where they can meet for their cultural festivals.

“You can also create something like a dairy factory there but if we allow them to be migrating from place to place, that is where we will have problems but I believe that very soon the Nigerian Governors’ Forum will discuss that and know the action to take in order to contain them in one place because they are looking for pasture but once they have a grazing reserve and all facilities in one place, I don’t think they will move from place to place and that will be the end of all the crisis”.

Matawalle said when he initiated a peace deal with bandits in Zamfara State and he realised that not all of them are criminals.

The governor, therefore, called on his Niger State counterpart, Mr. Sani Bello, to embrace the same method to address the same problem currently affecting the State.