Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Women of Nimbo Community in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State recently embarked on mass protests over alleged plans by the state government to establish RUGA in the community through the backdoor.
The Women, in their numbers came out to protest the plan to establish a ranch/Fulani ruga in its border with Kogi State.
They sang songs and carried placards with inscriptions such as: “We don’t want Fulani again, no to RUGA and so on.”
The action of the women followed a government inspection team to the area.
Ikengaonline recalled that Nimbo Community was invaded by suspected Fulani herders on April 25, 2016, leaving about 40 indigenes of the community dead.
The incident followed farmer-herder clashes in the general area the RUGA is allegedly planned to be sited.
However, the state government had debunked the RUGA claim, saying it was planning to set up a ranch in the area to stem the tide of kidnapping and general insecurity.
In a statement issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Aka Eze-Aka, the government described the RUGA claims as a misrepresentation.
“The attention of government has been drawn to insinuations and utter misrepresentation by some individuals of the good initiative of government to use ranch to stem the tide of kidnapping and clashes between our border people and the herders.
“Enugu State Government is not engaging in any RUGA project in any part of the state and shall not do so. “RANCH IS NOT RUGA.”
“It has become necessary to explain matters regarding the design to use ranching, a modern method all over the world, to rear cattle.
“The recent viral messages and outcry of a few persons against what they construed as government intention to take over a portion of land in Uzo-Uwani LGA and give out to Fulanis in the guise of RUGA is but the unfortunate machination of those who wished to make a mountain out of mole hill because of political reasons.
“The intention of government is clear on the matter as Armed bandits and kidnappers in the name of herders have for long taken advantage of our forests and farmland to commit heinous crimes, abduction, rape and killings.
“The government of Enugu State has resolved to put a stop to these and introduce ranching, the most modern way of rearing cattle,” Aka said.
The commissioner said that one of the outcomes of the attempts to introduce RUGA establishments in Nigeria was the suggestion to establish controlled ranching as practiced the world over.
According to him, when established, no cattle herder or dealer shall be allowed to roam non-designated areas with their animals for grazing.
“The state government therefore is resolved to strictly implement the laws against open grazing in any part of the state.
“As a result, specific areas designated for grazing shall be created, managed and held in trust by the government.
“It is the idea of government to build modern abattoir around each ranch from where all processing of meat are to take place before sale to other parts of the state.
“Consequently, all cattle movement transported from the northern part of the country stops at the ranch for proper inspection and revenue build up.
“Government cannot allow fabulists and political manipulators to take advantage of social media to work the people to frenzy against government programmes and projects.
“Our people are called upon to closely understand the good intentions of government and know that Ranch is not RUGA.”