Club De Pals Abuja, the forum of Tiv Professionals residing in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Monday urged the Federal Government to heed to national call for the cancellation of the proposed Ruga settlement project.
A statement jointly signed by the forum’s President, Mike Towua, and Secretary-General, Paul Vingil, said the RUGA plan cannot be a panacea to the lingering killings of Benue farmers by the Fulani herdsmen as the open grazing which follows the RUGA settlements will still bring the farmers and herders on collision course.
“We urge the Federal Government to listen to the voices of reason from elder statesmen like Prof Wole Soyinka, Chief Edwin Clark, socio-cultural organisations like Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum, Ominy’ Iegede, Middle Belt Forum, South-South Peoples Assembly and many others and cancel the RUGA plan.
“We are in total support of Ranching as the best practice in animal husbandry the World over as opposed to any other plan including RUGA, cattle routes, grazing reserves and cattle colonies, as being contemplated by the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari,” the forum said.
It further advised that no attempt should be made to enforce the principles of RUGA under the guise of National Livestock Transformation Plan or any other land-grabbing initiative for the Fulani herdsmen.
“The Tiv professionals condemn in its entirety, the attempt to seize ancestral lands of the people in Benue for the Fulani Herdsmen under any guise,” it said, adding that the Fulani are not indigenous to the state and do not deserve such special treatment.
The forum said that since cattle rearing is a private business, the Federal Government should make policies and laws to encourage individuals to operate this business in the same way it provides loans for crop farmers, small scale entrepreneurs and other business interests.