Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The Concerned Young Farmers Association of Taraba state on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest against the proposed RUGA (Rural Grazing Area) settlement scheme for Fulani herdsmen by the Federal Government in the state.
In a protest letter addressed to state governor Darius Ishaku, and signed by the chairman of the association Mr Daniel Angyu, the group said that the scheme is not only unpopular but is stoking hostile tribalism and brewing danger for the people.
Angyu said that the government and people of Taraba have already rejected the issue of cattle colonies during the livestock development program in Abuja last year, and that coming to impose it on the people under the guise of RUGA is “precipitating crisis.”
“The RUGA settlement scheme for Fulani herdsmen in Taraba State by the Federal Government is not only unpopular but is also breeding tribalism and precipitating crisis,” Angyu stated.
“The scheme is land intensive and considering the current population explosion, Taraba State cannot accommodate such added pressure on the fixed land. The people and government of Taraba State rejected the issue of cattle colony during the livestock development program in Abuja last year and still reject the policy, irrespective of the guise.
“Ranches are the only conventional and approved method of raising cattle globally and is the only lasting solution to the incessant farmer-herder crisis. The establishment of this scheme in contravention of the state’s Ranches Establishment and Open Grazing Prohibition Law, is a gross violation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and should be rejected by all well meaning Nigerians.”
The Association urged the state government to ensure a strict enforcement of the law which invalidates open grazing in the state.
Daily Sun reports that the young farmers protested with placards and barbers bearing various inscriptions such as “We say no to RUGA”, “RUGA is crisis in the making”, “We support ranching”, “we reject RUGA” “FG, respect the right of states,” among several others.