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‘Don’t only suspend RUGA, bury it’ — Yoruba group tells Buhari

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The Yoruba Summit Group has said that it is not enough for the Federal Government to suspend the controversial RUGA Policy, it must also ensure that it is dead and buried.

The group maintained that Yoruba will not allow such controversial policy to be executed on their land.

In a press release signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mogaji Gboyega Adejumo, The Yoruba Summit Group wondered why the 30-day ultimatum given by the Coalition of Northern Groups to Southern leaders and governor to rescind their decision on Ruga or face the consequences had not led to the arrest of those that issued the ultimatum.

Quoting a Yoruba idiom, it said, “When a Water Skater is dancing on top of water, there is a drummer underneath the river!”

“The questions to ask the Coalition of Northern Groups and by extension, the federal government are these:

“If RUGA was to be truly voluntary, as such was the way of an explanation given by the federal government, with twelve northern states that had already signed up for it, why would a group from the north thereafter threaten the states from the south and southern leaders too, that they either accept RUGA or face the consequences…!??

“Why would also the federal government hastily cancel RUGA purportedly with twelve states from the north already primed and ready for it?”

It said it was increasingly looking like “the answer to these questions lie on the bases of RUGA being only meant for a clandestine and surreptitious takeover of the lands in Southern zones and given to the Fulani herdsmen.

“It is therefore safe in our estimates to infer that, RUGA was never meant for the Northern States; it was absolutely designed for the South! And we the Yoruba, reject this plot in its Entirety!”

“RUGA is meant to be an acronym for Rural Grazing Area, perhaps a compound word for a Set of Ranches, Schools, Vet Clinics, Forage Farms, Hospitals, Police Posts, Roads, Abbatoir, Market and Bus Parks in a single Settlement.

“Whereas, RUGA is an Hausa word that means Village or Settlement, a Bell curve effect, now presents in a low analytical faculty, which will always manifest no matter the good intention.

“Given to the Fulani herdsmen that the World Terrorist Index have rightly named the 4th most dangerous terrorist group in the world, the Yoruba saying an emphatic No, to RUGA!

“With all that the Yoruba have experienced in our land, the burning of villages, killing of our famers, raping of our women RUGA would mean an increase in insecurity — the population of the maurading Fulani herdsmen that have been responsible for the killings of over 10,000 innocent Nigerians in our midst.

With the RUGA settlements, the Fulani Militia would have military advantage over their poor victims.

“With indigenous Yoruba on their land that anthropology have established no less than 14,000 unbroken years of heritage, a RUGA-made settlement would truly unsettle the Yoruba who hold so dearly to their heritage!

“It is the irrepressible, irreducible belief of our people that given another hundred years, indigenous people of the Yoruba will become an absolute minority in their Homeland… And that is Totally Unacceptable, a position that we The Yoruba are ready to defend with our very last Blood!”

Rather than pursuing a controversial RUGA policy that can lead to chaos, the group advised the Federal Government to work towards resettling the more than three million internally displaced persons, most of who are in the north, on their own land.

“There are over 3 million Nigerians in IDP camps, mostly in the North. The federal government is hereby advised to work towards resettling the displaced persons on their own land, including those the itinerant Fulani herdsmen have driven from their own nativity. That is the right thing to do than to seek to increase the number of displaced persons through RUGA!

“There are heart-renching reports of grossly inhuman conditions in our IDP camps, the Federal Government should involve itself and be occupied with providing succor for the innocent Nigerians with our sparse resources than to embark upon such ventures in billions of dollars on a ‘Rugarian’ venture that can only lead to chaos,” it said.

It also said it had come to the notice of the Yoruba Summit Group that some multilateral agencies were to be involved in the controversial RUGA exercise, adding that the Yoruba Summit Group would like to advice the touted Multilateral Agencies like FAO and IFAD, that the federal government “is seemingly involved with in the process of seeking funding and technical assistance from, that these UN agencies should not touch RUGA as it is presently constituted, suspended or not!

“It is a well known international rule that where there is land in dispute, multilateral agencies are not to get themselves involved.

“And, in the matter of the states and RUGA, like we have seen in the case of Benue State, where the federal government has tried to forcefully acquire land for RUGA, in direct contravention of the constitution and other laws and regulations binding ownership of the land, vested upon the governors of the federating states only, it is thusly clear, that any land not willfully submitted to RUGA by the Nigerian federating states contravenes the International regulations binding and guiding all Multilateral Agencies!”

The group said: “In Yorubaland in the past, we had our Western Livestock company in places like Ekiti, Ondo and Ogun states… We had the Iwo Road Dairy farm of 550 acres, we had the Agege dairy farm in Lagos state. All of these were run by our indegenous Yoruba people. If the federal government is sincere, it should be looking at the resuscitation of such home-grown ventures by providing grants and or loans… In Yorubaland, we can develop (our) own cattle ranches without recourse to the Fulani herdsmen.

“A lebensraun situation in which the itinerant cattle Fulani seemingly believe they are superior to indigenous peoples of the Nigerian space in raising cattle is unbecoming, insulting. Do they pay tax? Do they pay vat? Do they contribute to development of their host communities?”

It wondered how much the cattle business contributes to the GDP of the nation and how much revenue government generates from it “to warrant the fixation of the federal government in the pandering of, prevaricating to and protecting them, even to the extent of allowing them to give the peoples of southern Nigeria a 30-day ultimatum!?? ”

It further stated that, “… it becomes also instructive to ask the federal government to cede to us Southerners, hectares of land for our Piggeries in the North and villages to which Southerners must be allowed in the North to set up our local goat farming..

“We therefore demand for, PIGA, Piggery Initiative and Growth Arena. Such a beacon of hope, economic growth that won’t harm anyone. Failure to accede to our requests, let RUGA be dead and buried, not only suspended!”

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