By Umar Salam.
The Kulen Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria (KACRAN) has described the extension of the suspended Ruga settlement project to Southern Nigeria “which has nothing to do with pastoralism” as a “serious mistake or political blunder”.
The National President of KACRAN, Khalil Mohammed Bello, made the disclosure today in a statement released to the press in Damaturu, Yobe State.
Bello, berated the Federal Government for not being sincere, which was why the programme generated a lot of controversy and failed to be implemented.
“I wish to state that, after thorough 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.
“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 blunder. 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”, he said.
The KACRAN National President, also queried why states like Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and some part of Borno States, who have several grazing reserves for pastoralism and were ready to accept the program for implementation were excluded from it.
“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”, he stated.