- Middle Belt group has accused Governors Samuel Ortom, and Darius Ishaku, of kicking against the planed Ruga settlement for pastoral herders
- The group claimed that federal government has announced its intention to experiment with establishing ruga settlements for pastoral herders in 12 pilot states of the country
- National president of the CMBCF, Augustine Awulu, said it was surprising when the governors opposed it because the strategy can end the killings in the country
The Concerned Middle Belt Citizens Forum (CMBCF) has blamed Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, and his Taraba state counterpart, Darius Ishaku, for kicking against the planed Ruga settlement for pastoral herders.
National President of the CMBCF, Comrade Augustine Awulu, at a press conference on Wednesday, June 26, said the governor deliberately stalling peace efforts to end the ragging menace.
Vanguard reports that Awulu of the CMBCF said Ruga settlement for the herders remains a lasting panacea to the nagging crises between farmer and cattle rearers.
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He said: "The Concerned Middle Belt Citizens Forum” (CMBCF) is again constrained to speak to Nigerians for obvious reasons.
"In the course of the week, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) led by President Buhari announced its intention to experiment with establishing “Ruga Settlements,” for pastoral herders in 12 pilot states of the country.
"Surprisingly, this policy has been greeted with a strong cynicism, antagonism, and antipathy by some states governors in Nigeria from the southeast and north central states.
"We consider this absurd in the truest sense of it. We are not principally concerned with whatever the Governors of the Southeast think about this policy which is a carefully thought-out plan and strategy to end the regime of clashes, killings, and destructions between herders and farmers in Nigeria.
"We have grieved over these skirmishes enough and President Buhari had sufficiently notified us that “Whatever it will take, I am determined to bring peace between farmers and herders.”
"We were not disappointed when Governors of the Southeast opposed it; but drenched in sadness when the twosome of Taraba state governor, Arch. Dairus Ishaku and his Benue state counterpart, Hon. Samuel Ortom voiced opposition to Ruga settlements. Northerners do not share the same cultural ties or even economic proclivities with the Southeast.
"Easterners are basically businessmen and women or commercialists or traders. But in the Middle Belt, we are farmers notable in crops and animal husbandry. There is little essence in emphasizing that we need one another to survive in this hostile world.
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"The magnitude of the clashes and carnage between cattle rearers and farmers has exacerbated because of these faulty or grey areas in the anti-open grazing laws.
"And there is no way, any right-thinking leader would feel, we shall continue to exist on such fault lines. Let us state clearly that we are not necessarily faulting the laws, but the grey areas in it, which are known to the Governors who hurriedly endorsed such laws under whatever convictions.
"It is what states which have passed anti-open grazing laws have advocated in such laws. So, where is the confusion and why the resistance to Ruga settlements?
Legit.ng previously reported that the USAID claimed that an estimated 7,000 Nigerians died between 2015 and 2019 in the persistent violence between farmers and pastoralists in the middle belt states of Benue and Nasarawa.
The report which was titled: ”Engaging Communities for Peace in Nigeria (ECPN),” also said the violence has cost the Nigerian economy $13 billion a year over the past five years.
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