The Kulen Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria (KACRAN) has come hard on the federal government for planning to implement the now-suspended Ruga Settlement programme to southern part of Nigeria “which has nothing to do with pastoralism”.
The KACRAN National President, Khalil Mohammed Bello, who spoke on Friday in Damaturu, accused the government of failing to solve pastoralists’ problems in Nigeria, adding that this explains the suspension of controversial Ruga Settlement programme.
“I wish to state that, after through observation and general assessment of the government’s suspended RUGA program, we understand that, government was not sincere or ready to solve the problems of Nigeria’s Pastoralists, that was why the program generated a lot of controversy and failed to be implemented.
“From the very beginning, the Federal government did not introduce the program as one of its economic or agricultural policies or projects.
“The project was initiated hastily and furiously as a child of necessity to be used for temporal solution of Farmers/Herders conflicts,” Bello said.
The National President noted that, for any programme to be successful the target group must be involved, but in the case of the Ruga scheme, the federal government failed to involve critical stakeholders for the designing of the scheme.
He added that instead of engaging the critical stakeholders concern, government singlehandedly epitomised its programme and wanted to implement it nationwide without proper consideration on how the implementation will be a successful one.
Bello said, “The project was unnecessarily extended to Southern part of this Country, who have nothing to do with pastoralism, for implementation, forgetting the fact that, there was no availability of land there, as a result they strongly rejected the execution of the program in totality.
“We consider the extension as a serious mistake or political blunders. Because KACRAN don’t want to see a single cow moving from Northern part of this country to Southern part unless in a heavy truck vehicle, on their way to Southern Country’s Cattle markets.
“Had it been, the government is serious, in its RUGA program, it would only restrict it in the Northern States of the country, which have gazetted grazing reserves and availability of land surface.”
According to KACRAN’s National President, the non inclusion of Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and some part of Borno States, was another indication that the RUGA programme was not meant as permanent solution to Nigerian Pastoralists problems.
“We said so, for the fact that, these are the States that supplied meat to the Southern part of the Country, and which have several grazing reserves for pastoralism and are ready to accept the program for implementation, but were excluded from it, why?
“The RUGA program in its plan, focuses on executing projects such as building houses, Schools, recreation centers etc, which are not priority to our pastoralists, rather than focusing on widening the scope of the pasture and water provision.
“Because no matter how beautiful you built structures for pastoralists if there is no availability of pasture and water they would certainly abandon that place and move to where water and pasture are”, he pointed.
The Fulani association said that naming the programme as Ruga is another indication that government conceived and approved the programme without considering parties involved.
“Had it been we were consulted during the conceptualization of the program, the name will not be suggested RUGA, we would have suggested DURDUDE that is vegetation or grazing area as the program’s name which would be easily understood and acceptable to the Pastoralists,” Bello disclosed.