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Ganduje: Ruga Settlement Failed Because It Was Conceived Out of Misconception
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has explained that the Ruga Settlement established by the federal government failed, because was conceived out of misconception.
He contended that mass criticisms that trailed the policy resulted in the suspension of the project in which contracts had already been awarded.
Ganduje stated this yesterday in Abuja during the inauguration of a committee to organise a national conference with the aim of providing a lasting solution to the constant herder-farmer conflict across Nigeria.
The conference committee headed by a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, was also mandated to look into all the issues surrounding the plan to ease conflicts associated with livestock and the need to reform the sector.
The governor said the decision to host a national conference on “Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria” underscored the recognition that the primary business of government was law and order.
Ganduje recalled that in 2019, the federal government launched a 10-year National Livestock Transformation Plan to curtail the movement of cattle, boost livestock production and control the country’s deadly herder-farmer conflict.
He decried the fact that, inadequate political leadership, delays, funding uncertainties and lack of expertise derailed the project, while COVID-19 pandemic intensified the challenges.
“It is regrettable that deficient political leadership, popular misperceptions about its purpose and widespread insecurity hindered its progress. There is also a clear sense which I think must be appreciated, that the federal government cannot dictate to states what to do with their land.
“This is so because the Land Use Act of 1978 puts land under the control of governors on behalf of their states. Even for use of federal lands in the states according to the Supreme Court, building or development control permit must be sought from the governors of the states.
“I am a strong proponent of restriction of herders’ movements into Nigeria from neighbouring countries as part of solution to tackling herder/farmer clashes. However, another issue worth taking into account is the ECOWAS Transhumance Protocol, which Nigeria signed in 1998.
“This guarantees free movement to pastoralists, herders across the sub-region. As signatories to that protocol, Nigeria is obliged not to restrict the movement of herders and their cattle from other ECOWAS countries. This is an issue to be looked into.
“This has added a further complication to the problems we already have. Besides most foreign herdsmen are exposed to the firearms market and are unknown to the local farming populace,” he stated.
The Kano governor said his administration since inception has led the way and has been pioneering the initiation of development-oriented interventions at reformation of the livestock sector to mitigate farmer/herder conflicts by tackling the issue headlong.
He said, “You may wish to know that until our intervention, activities of cattle rustlers such as rape, killings, abduction and banditry had paralysed economic activities in communities particularly, in Sumaila and Doguwa Local Government Areas, which left a lot of cattle farmers in a state of despair.”
Ganduje said it was against this background that the government mobilised security agencies, resulting in the formation of a Police Anti-Cattle Rustling Squad, Ambush Squad and Tactical Observation points along the Falgore Forest.