RUGA SETTLEMENT: CLARIFY GREY AREAS, AREWA YOUTHS TELL FG
By Ufuoma Egbamuno
The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) has called on the Federal Government to setup a roundtable conference of ethnic stakeholders, to discuss and clarify grey areas concerning its RUGA settlement proposal.
Yerima Shettima, AYCF National President, made the call in an interview with Nigeria Info FM correspondent Georges Macnobleson-Idowu. This follows widespread criticism from a section of the country and outright refusal by many.
According to the AYCF President, the widespread rejection of the proposal is as a result of government’s failure to come open with details of the initiative.
"The matter is a bit technical. The government has a lot of things to do," Shetimma said.
"They need to organise orientation agencies to educate people on exactly what they are talking about," he added.
The AYCF National President also stressed that unless open grazing is criminalized, the establishment of RUGA settlement will not bring a lasting solution to herdsmen/farmers crises rocking the country.
"The best you can do is create branches. If you create RUGA, you're given them an area where you want them to settle," said Shettima.
The AYCF leader also insisted that RUGA settlement does not mean the same thing as Ranch. However, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, says there is no difference between RUGA and Cattle Ranching.
Speaking to Channels TV, Garba said "Cattle Ranching is the same thing as RUGA. It is six and half a dozen. It is not confined to only Fulani, it is a business that is open to all Nigerians."
The Presidential Spokesperson also listed the gains associated with the proposed RUGA settlements.
"There will be the establishment of meet processors, there will be the utilisation of bye-products including sanitary wares that will be manufactured from cattle horns. This is a another business and money in it," Garba noted.
He accused politicians of misinforming the public on the objectives on the project and assured that it would curb insecurity and lead to job creation.
So far, 12 states have agreed to have RUGA settlements created.
Additional Reports By Georges Macnobleson-Idowu and Bimbo Awoyele