There’s no plan to establish RUGA settlement in Enugu, says govt

The people of Nimbo community protesting over plan to establish RUGA settlement and cattle ranches by the Enugu State government 

*Protest rocks community over cattle ranch plans

The Enugu State government has said that there is no plan to establish Ruga settlement in any part of the state.

The government’s reaction followed controversies and protests that have rocked Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the state over alleged trailing the federal government’s alleged plan by the state government to establish a cattle ranch for Fulani herdsmen in the community.

Nimbo is the community where scores of people were massacred with several others permanently disfigured eight years ago in 2016 by suspected herders, who invaded the place.

Last Tuesday, hundreds of the people of the community marched along the Nsukka – Uzo-Uwani – Anambra Federal Highway, in a peaceful protest, as they bore placards with various inscriptions such as, “Nimbo Community Says No To Cattle Ranch In Their Land QED”.

A video of the protest seen weekend by our correspondent shows the protesters, who were mostly women and youths, displaying placards and chanting:  “Nimbo doesn’t want cattle, Nimbo doesn’t want ranching.”

The women also wailed as they marched on the roads with pictures of the caskets which was used during the mass burial of their husbands and sons.

They said they woke up in the morning and heard that the state government and the local government had concluded plans to survey, measure and take some portion of the land in a border line of Enugu and Kogi state to build Army base and cattle ranch without the consent of the community leadership.

A community, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity in order to avoid witch-hunt, accused the state government of being insensitive to the plight of the people of the community.

He said at the state government decision to establish Ruga/cattle ranch without the consent of the community, was the most insensitive of psychologically assaulting a people, whose deaths and injuries were still fresh from the activities of the same people.

“I need to remind you that this same place is where our people were massacred eight years ago. Our crime then was that we asked the herders to stop using their cattle to destroy our crops. When the destruction became too much, we made attempt to chase them away. That was the reason they invaded and slaughtered dozens of our people. 

“Since then, the government had never asked how the families of such victims were doing, only for them to just want to establish the same cattle ranch again.

“This is like adding salt to injury. Most of the children of the deceased have since withdrawn from school with hardship dealing with them. The only thing the government wants to remember us for is building Ruga exactly where our people were murdered. I wonder any community that will tolerate this kind of insensitivity”, he said

But reacting to the development, the senior special assistant to the governor of Enugu State on mainstream media, Dan Nwomeh, insisted that there was no such RUGA plan by the state government, adding that ranching would end the intractable crisis between herders and farmers in the state.

He, however stated that there is a proposal to establish government owned and controlled ranches in local government areas where cases of farmers/herders crisis were rampant.

Nwomeh said: “There’s no such RUGA plan please. There’s a state government initiative, a proposal really, to establish government owned and controlled ranches in local governments with the worst cases of herders%farmers clashes such as Uzo Uwani, Isi Uzo and Oji River. 

“The locations are still being considered. Government will seek the buy-in of the host communities. No government team has visited any proposed site. 

“The ranches will be open to all commercial cattle rearers and not just an ethnic group. Ranching is the global best practice that will end open grazing and clahes with farmers”.


Recommended For You

About the Author: Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *