Amid rising tension over herders/farmers clashes in Nigeria, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State recently proposed the stoppage of the movement of cattle from North to South, leading to an ongoing debate on whether the proposal is capable of ending the crisis.
The message resonated so much as if the governor was making such a call for the first time.
Long before the latest tension in the country over the matter, Ganduje had made a similar proposal.
He even went ahead to suggest that foreign herders be banned from entering Nigeria.
In his recent call, the governor, a Fulani, restated his earlier position that the North/South movement of cows is responsible for the rising tension associated with the activities of herdsmen.
The Kano State helmsman revealed that he has built a Rural Grazing Area, RUGA, settlement in Kano where herders are being resettled.
Meanwhile, the leader of Fulani herdsmen and Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, in Kano State Zubairu Ibrahim said at the weekend, that herdsmen from many parts of the country have indicated interest to relocate to the Kano RUGA settlement.
Ibrahim said some of them are from states such as Nasarawa, Niger, Enugu and Oyo states, among others.
He said herdsmen willing to relocate to its RUGA settlement provided by the state government are welcome so long as they abide by the law.
Ibrahim added that herdsmen from five states have already relocated to the state.
According to him, “we have some Fulani herdsmen from Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, and Jigawa who are now in Kano. The governor has invited anyone willing to stay in the RUGA settlement to come. If they come and they are good people, nothing will stop us from receiving them.
“All they need to do is to follow the rules and regulations of government. They should go for grazing in the afternoon and not at night. Nothing can stop them from coming if they are interested.
“Since the governor of Ondo State has gone to the media to say that they (herdsmen) should vacate the area, instead of staying there they should leave. They should leave so that something bad does not happen to them and their property. They should just vacate the area for their safety.”
He commended Ganduje for fulfilling his promises and making history by resettling them in the RUGA settlement.
Fulani herdsmen have, for some time now, been in the eye of the storm over killing of residents, especially in the southern part of the country, after allegedly causing their cattle to graze recklessly in farms of farmers and, in the process, destroying valuable crops.
Mid last month, Ondo State government ordered herdsmen operating from the state’s forest reserves out of the place following kidnappings and ransom taking linked to them.
In Oyo, Yoruba activist Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho, led a group to give herders operating in Ibarapa area of the state one week ultimate to vacate the area.
An attack was subsequently launched on the Sarkin Fulani in the Ibarapa area, leading to the burning of some of his property and forcing him to relocate to Kwara State.
For several days last week, there were protests against herders in parts of Edo and Delta states by women against alleged criminal activities of herders.
The report below gives a full view of the Ganduje Ruga settlement in Danshoyia and Falgore forests where herders from several states of the South are allegedly relocating to.
Kano State government is not leaving any stone unturned on the implementation of Rural Grazing Areas, RUGA, settlement project to resettle Fulani herdsmen.
The aim is to end incessant farmers/herders clashes and as well boost socio-economic activities in the state.
To this end, he seems to have matched his words with action by setting in motion works on the project which are in various stages of completion.
Government selected Danshoyia Forest, Kiru Local Government Area of the state, which currently houses about 25 housing units of the first phase of 200 housing units to be constructed in the forest.
Other facilities on the masterplan of the RUGA project include industrial boreholes, veterinary clinic, dispensary, earth dam, milk collection centre, primary school, Islamiyyah school, Mosque, market and security outpost.
A lot of factors were said to have been considered before the location of the project was chosen.
The issues considered include the size of the area, closeness to market and the areas’ notoriety for habouring criminals.
In fact, some forests where criminal activities take place were chosen and converted into RUGA settlements.
The project has two components being handled by the RUGA Committee and the Kano State Agro Pastoral Development Project, KSADP, with aid from the Islamic Development Bank.
The Committee oversees the construction of houses while KSADP supervises the provision of other infrastructures in the facilities.
Chairman of the RUGA Committee, Jibrilla Mohammed, had said the Committee settled for the Danshoyia Forest for the fact that it is very large with a sizable number of Fulani settlements and arable land for grass cultivation.
He explained that model houses of two bedrooms were being built in the form of clusters of six houses.