What Nigerians Need To Know About The Proposed RUGA Settlement For Herdsmen...

What Nigerians Need To Know About The Proposed RUGA Settlement For Herdsmen [MUST READ]

By News Agency of Nigeria on July 4, 2019
Muhammadu Buhari
Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari in his hometown Daura, in Katsina State, on Friday, February 15, 2018 | Luc Gnago/Reuters

Its better we understand the concept of Ranching before we delve into the issue on social media, thou we can’t underestimate the power of social media but we need to judiciously utilise the medium in other not to cause disharmony.

Many people don’t understand it at all, they only follow or join the conversation trending on social media. Ranching is not a new development or neither a new phenomenon in Nigeria. As a student of Nigerian history and politics I get to know that the first ranching in Nigeria was established before the coming of the colonial masters and subsequently during the British rule in Nigeria, Ranch was also created in the present Cross River state by the colonial masters which many scholars sees as first in Nigeria.

Ruga is a traditional and unique Fulani encampment consisting of temporary structures made of stalks. Ruga Settlement simply means rural area in which animal farmers, not just cattle herders, will be settled in an organized place with provision of necessary and adequate basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets and manufacturing entities that will process and add value to meats and animal products.

Ranching is an extensive farm, especially in the western United States, on which large herds of cattle, sheep, or horses are raised. Some sees ranching as the activity of gathering livestock together so that they can be counted or branded or sold. People who own or operate a ranch are called ranchers, cattlemen, or stockgrowers.

Some opined that cattle rearing is a private business, they asserted that the Fulani herdsmen should buy land for ranching instead of government intervention. Even in the western United States, many ranches are a combination of privately owned land supplemented by grazing leases on land under the control of the federal Bureau of Land Management or the United States Forest Service. Go and do your research about the global practice of ranching instead of towing the part of disunity.

Ranching and the cowboy tradition originated in Spain, out of the necessity to handle large herds of grazing animals on dry land from horseback. During the Reconquista, members of the Spanish nobility and various military orders received large land grants that the Kingdom of Castile had conquered from the Moors.

Ranching is a very significant change of the open grazing system strategy. It changes the mobility nature of open grazing where traditionally there are no limits of grazing of the available pastures, into controlled grazing. It also changes the common property character of the herdsmen where all land is open for pastures without any individual ownership. Take it or leave it ranching is now the dominant system of ruminant livestock production in North America, Australia and parts of South America, including some parts of Africa too have adopted ranching as the best strategy.

As a matter of fact, the establishment of ranches and the movement of beef instead of cattle have been identified by stakeholders as ways to end the incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the country. Over the years there have been uncountable clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Benue state, and other part of the country which have resulted to loss of lives and properties with several others being displaced from their homes.

The clashes are fast becoming unbecoming, and a major scourge confronting the nation which has begged for urgent intervention of the Federal Government. No less than ten reported cases have occurred since the beginning of the year and we kept on shouting that the government of the day is doing nothing to stop the crisis between the herdsmen and the farmers.

According to a publication of the daily independent on March 9, 2019, said the activities of these herdsmen if not checked could result to war which at this time will not be good enough for the country. They, therefore, called for the establishment of ranches so as to allow the herdsmen feed their cattle in a concentrated area, instead of moving them around and destroying peoples’ farms and properties.

The Fulani indisputably represent a significant component of the Nigerian economy. They constitute the major breeders of cattle, the main source of meat, the most available and cheap source of animal proteins consumed by Nigerians. The Fulani own over 90% of the nation’s livestock population which accounts for one-third of agricultural GDP and 3.2% of the nation’s GDP (Eniola, 2007). Furthermore, the contribution of the Fulani to the local food chain and national food security cannot be overstressed.

Ranching is not Fulanization don’t get it twisted, the government earlier deposited that beneficiaries will include all persons in animal husbandry, not only Fulani herders. We have to learn how to live together harmoniously. Before election we praise Hausa/Fulani, after election we start criticizing them and we still believe we are doing the better thing. Politicisation is one of our major if not the major problem to the growth of our nation.

Lastly, ,Ranching is not new in the global arena, it will only ameliorate the crisis between the farmers and the herdsmen. It will be to the overall benefit of the which includes a drastic reduction in conflicts between herders and farmers, a boost in animal protection complete with a value chain that will increase the quality and hygiene of livestock in terms of beef and milk production, increased quality of feeding and access to animal care and private sector participation in commercial pasture production by way of investments. It will also create job opportunity.

Its better we get it right now, don’t let us politicise whatever the government initiate. Many are fond of condemning any policy of the government be it good or bad, moreover it was clearly stated that the Ruga is voluntary and twelve states have already indicated interest, they’ve already applied to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, making lands available to start the ranching in their State. To me this number is sufficient enough to start the Ruga system, I hope subsequently with the success of the scheme some other States will then join.

Giwa Murtala Omotola Moore Is A Lagos Based. Political Scientist you could reach him Email.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.


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