The Plateau State chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) has stated that those opposing the establishment of Ruga settlement in the country are enemies of progress who want farmers and herders clashes to continue for their selfish interests.

It declared that no matter how loudly the oppositions cried, Nigeria must adopt Ruga to address the farmers/herders clashes.

The state chairman of the association, Malam Mohammed Nuru Abdulahi, who stated this in an interview in Jos, said the country needed Ruga settlement to halt the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers which have continued to claim lives in droves.

“We are in full support of the Ruga settlement but what I want the government to know is that it needs to be firm in its approach towards addressing farmers and herders’ clashes in the country. We are in support of any arrangement that would keep all the Fulani herdsmen together in one place. It can be Ruga, cattle colony or ranch. The controversies over these policies are unnecessary,” Abdulahi said.

He said the Ruga initiative, if adopted, would discourage the idea of roaming with cattle and encourage rural settlement of herders in an organised manner, where basic social amenities like schools, hospitals, road, veterinary clinics and markets would be provided for the herders. “Beneficiaries will include all persons in animal husbandry, civil servants, contractors, feed producers and a host of others, not only Fulani herders. I want us to know that the Federal Government is planning this in order to curb open grazing of animals that continue to pose security threats to farmers and herders,” he added.

According to him, the overall benefit to the nation includes drastic reduction in conflicts between herders and farmers, a boost in animal protection with a value chain that will increase the quality and hygiene of livestock in terms of beef and milk production, access to animal care and private sector participation by way of investments.

He noted that what the Federal Government was planning was ranching (ruga) under the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), adding that the idea was not new and, therefore, deserved the corporation of all peaceful Nigerians.

The MACBAN chairman said those opposing ranching or Ruga could not justify their positions but were looking at it from parochial and selfish angle, adding that no matter how loudly they cry, the country must have ranching as a way of addressing the clashes across the country.