Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Amid growing controversy over the suspended Rural Grazing Area (Ruga) settlement plan in the country, the Indonesia Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Usra Hendra Harahap, has said building such settlements will end the incessant herders-farmers clashes in the country.
Harahap stated this during the celebration of Eid el-Kabir with inhabitants of Ruga Fulani, a Fulani settlement behind Lower Usuma Dam, Abuja.
Harahap said a similar solution was adopted in Indonesia at a time where cattle herders used to move their livestock from one part of the country to another; the ambassador saying that with the introduction of cattle settlements, there are no more roving cattle herders in his country.
Harahap said Nigeria needed regulation to distinguish between farm areas and areas meant for herders in the country.
According to Harahap, “This should be made known. Government has to pay attention about this because we provide the cattle, it is just for the herders; and we provide the farm just for the farmers…
“So, they have regulation. Not mixed and after that, they fight each other. It is not good,” Harahap said.
The Indonesia envoy further said the Embassy will provide necessary education to herders in the country on how to live peacefully with their neighbour farmers.
He recalled that Indonesia had a problem with roving herders in the past, but as settlements have been established for cattle, the problem has been solved.
“You know some of the cattle, they build the cattle in the village, they make something like house for the cow, they take the grass and give to the cow in the house,” Harahap added.
Earlier, Harahap said the visit to Ruga Fulani by the Embassy of Indonesia was due to the condition of the inhabitants of the settlement, especially the Fulani.
He added that the traditional life of the Fulani attracted the Embassy to the settlement, saying that there was need to assist the settlers as there was a big difference between the settlement and urban life.
Harahap particularly called on the government to find a way to ameliorate the harsh lives of those Nigerians who lack access to basic social amenities.
“I tried to encourage the government also to pay attention about the people here,” the envoy said.
“We know that the way of life is much different because they try to become herders to drive their cows probably for weeks and months and not coming back as they leave their family here.
“It is a very hard work. That is why, probably, we need to modify. It is not by going far away, to leave the family,” the envoy added.