Social Media has been agog with a plethora of questions about RUGA, and that begs my question; What is “RUGA Settlement”? RUGA settlement simply means rural settlements in which animal farmers, not just cattle rearer, will be settled in an organized place with special provisions of necessary and adequate basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets and manufacturing entities that will process and add value to meats and animal products.
Safe to say RUGA is Ranching?A ranch is an area of land, including various structures given primarily to the practice of grazing livestock. The answer is that the former is more encompassing in nature, while the later is definite and well précised as practiced in other parts of the world.
There has been a public outcry emanating from a statement recently attributed to the office of the Vice President and its announcement by the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development saying the Federal Government was proposing to establish a RUGA settlements all over the country starting from 12 pilot states. The statement has received a lot of backlash from the populist.
The implication of the proposed policy is already causing division among citizens in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. Some have reawakened the claim that Buhari is subtly revealing his plan to Islamise and “Fulanise”the country, while others think he wants to assist his kinsmen in order to have a domineering impact as an ethnic group in the country. Could all these be true?
Permit me to chip in with this quote of Aristotle:“Anybody can become angry –that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way- that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”Thus, our decisions stands and opinions, at times,are influenced by our affinities and social inclinations. In line to this, those who opined the aforementioned are right in their own rights. In fact, everybody’s opinion is – to a large extent – “right”.
Getting the facts straight- Since the birth of Nigeria, there has not been a time devoid of any form of conflict; same with almost every African country. But isn’t this part of the definition of humanity? The problem, however,is that we fail to put a holistic approach to conflict situations to enable us avert future re-occurrence of such. Considering the themes of Nigeria conflicts : Bakassi, Kano riot, Aba crisis, Militants and Boko Haram, as all been caused by our inability to handle situations from the latent stage which as gotten us to the present situation of conflicts we are facing now, in fairness to history.
My conflict lecturer once said that if conflicts or agitations are not tackled from the root cause their could always be a reprisal, which is evident with Boko Haram, Niger Delta and a couple of other menaces unmentioned. Need I say more at this point that Nigeria conflict pattern has the same theme(Ethnic&Religion)since existence?
Could RUGA Settlement birth another Boko Haram & Militants in the next few years? – My professional analysis in the affirmative! The reason is that any form of arrangement or policy, that the natives are not in support of,usually backfires and interprets to physical confrontation because the said natives would feel marginalized. During the course of my inquiries, a friend asked, “Can you dash out your family land forever?”His question points to nothing other than the fact that there will be a point in time when the native owners will feel more entitled to the land than the settlers irrespective of any political arrangement, and this could result to a conflicting situation.
My resolution- It will be professionally wrong to analyze a situation without proffering a possible solution. If the Federal Government do not want to engineer another conflict in the nearest future, I will suggest that the RUGA SETTLEMENT stand for the state that wants it, chiefly the northern parts of the country.Here is the reason;HERDERS ARE MAJORLY DOMICILE THERE,AND AS SUCH THE RUGA PLAN WILL NOT HINDER OR SABOTAGE THEIR TRADITIONAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE; INSTEAD IT WILL STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES OF THE NORTH AND FACILITATE THEIR BARGAINING POWER IN NIGERIA MARKET AND BEYOND AS THE CHUNK OF HIDES AND SKIN WILL COME FROM THERE. IT WILL ALSO ENCOURAGE PEACEFUL RELATIONSHIP AND MUTUAL RESPECT FOR OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS.
As a peace ambassador, I understand that “DEVELOPMENT” transcends infrastructural and educational progress but inculcates peaceful environments to allow the infrastructure be useful. Thus, for Nigeria to be developed, we need a peaceful terrain to enable us enjoy our schools, road networks, power and other developmental goals as “purported”in Agenda2030 sustainable development goals (SDG).
It is said that there is nothing bad in its entirety, so this RUGA SETTLEMENTS could have some advantages as well. But the formation of Nigeria and some other factors will spur one on to consider the future implications. I will advice that the federal government listen, respect and consider the facts brought up by the populist.
How about saying:
“For God so love Nigeria, it gave her enormous human and natural resources for if used well shall prosper.” Safe to say? Certainly!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!
COMRADE RAJI AZEEZ
A PUBLIC AFFAIR ANALYST.