Club De Pals, Abuja the Forum for Tiv Professionals residing in Abuja wishes to make the following statements on the Federal Government’s plan to implement the RUGA settlement for Fulani herdsmen in some states of the Federation including Benue state.
1. We condemn in its entirety, the attempt to seize ancestral lands of our people in Benue for the Fulani Herdsmen under any guise. The Fulanis are not indigenous to our state and do not deserve such special treatment.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. The Benue State Government has already enacted a law prohibiting open grazing of animals and promoting ranching. Any other plan therefore, runs contrary to the law duly passed the Benue State House of Assembly and being implemented in the state since 2018.
5. The Federal Government should be reminded that in the Federal system, and guided by the Land Use Act 1978, the Federal Government does not have constitutional powers to administer lands in the states. The veiled reference to “gazetted” pieces of land earmarked for RUGA settlement is not only illegal and unconstitutional, its is provocative and capable of compromising the fragile unity of the country.
6. We urge the federal Government to listen to the voices of reason from elderstatesmen 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.
7. We advise that no attempt should me 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.
8. Since cattle rearing is a private business, we urge the Federal 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.
(By Chief Mike Tyowua, President, Mr. Paul Vingir, secretary)