By Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), on Monday rejected the proposed establishment of RUGA settlements scheme in Taraba State for Fulani herdsmen.
The state President of the NYCN, Mr. Udi Adamu who led a peaceful protest against the policy in Jalingo the state capital, said that the RUGA settlement policy was a misplaced priority in the face of poverty, insecurity, armed robbery, banditry and increasing unemployment facing the country.
The group maintained that the Ruga settlement scheme was a threat to the cordial existence of tribes in the state and the country at large.
According to Adamu, “most Fulani herdsmen attacking farming communities in the state are alien to Taraba and were looking for opportunity to grab land from the original inhabitants and allowing the policy to sail through will rather promote crisis in the state.
“We the youth of Taraba State are in support of the Ranching law enacted in the state which is the best option of settling herder/farmer crisis and globally accepted best practice of animal husbandry.
“The RUGA scheme is suspicious and we call on Governor Darius Ishaku to enforce the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 for the sake of peace and harmonious coexistence between herders and farmers”.
He urged the federal government to use the resources earmarked for the project to rehabilitate thousands of persons who have been displaced by the vicious armed herdsmen.
The state CAN Chairman, Rev. Innocent Solomon in a Press statement in Jalingo said the policy was unacceptable.
Rev. Solomon said the policy of the Federal Government to take away land from poor citizens and ethnic nationalities to give away to strangers in whatever name was condemnable and should be resisted by Nigerians.
“The Buhari led Federal Government has demonstrated sufficient evidence to proof that it has no political will to stop the armed Fulani herdsmen on rampage all over the country, attacking local farmers in order to confiscate their ancestral Lands and turn them into cattle colonies.
“It is sad that a sitting President could allow his citizens to be killed and sacked from their ancestral Lands with the intention to favour an ethnic group without sustained effort to curb the trend, but rather promote policies to that would further subjugate his citizens.
“This is totally against the spirit by which Nigerians elected him to that exalted office. It is a breach of trust with the Nigerian people.
“The forceful conversion of our lands to RUGA settlements is callous, unconstitutional and capable of igniting war in the country,” the statement read.
The statement called on President Buhari to urgently redeem his image as a father by ending the wanton destruction of lives and properties across the country by armed Fulani militia and also stop the attempt to forcefully take away lands from their owners in the name of RUGA settlements.