Accept Ruga policy or – Northern groups issue 30-day ultimatum to opposing govs

A coalition of Northern groups has called on state governors opposing the establishment of Rural Grazing Areas (RUGA) for herdsmen to retrace their steps of face the consequences of their action.

State governors mostly from the southern part of the country had kicked against the creation of Ruga settlements which President Muhammadu Buhari administration said will permanently address herders and farmers clashes.

Critics had opined that the initiative was aimed at grabbing ancestral lands of other Nigerians and handing them over to herdsmen mostly from the Fulani tribe.

Although the government said the project is optional, for interested states, it however suspended the implementation due to the rejection of the initiative in the South.

Spokesperson of the Northern groups, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, lambasted Yemi Osinbajo, for denying spearheading the initiative.

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, who accused the incumbent administration of plotting to Islamize and Fulanise the nation was also accused by the group of  creating unfavorable environment for peace in the country.

“The cleansing operation also derives inspiration and support from the damning remarks of their state governors who also emphatically denounce and reject every effort to share space with fellow Nigerian citizens of northern extraction,” Mr Suleiman said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“Having come this far, we restate our emphatic repudiation of the vilification of one ethnic and religious group or the other for whatever reason or justification and deem the targeting of the entire Fulani race for vilification, systematic dehumanisation, profiling, alienation or any action that will render them object of attack and persecution, not only immoral and illegal, but also abhorrent to our sensibilities and ordinary decency.

“Accordingly, we remind the nation that so long as the Fulani would not be allowed to enjoy their citizens’ right of living and flourishing in any part of this country including the South, no one should also expect us to allow any southerner to enjoy the same in northern Nigeria.

“While we warn all state governors that stand against the implementation of the Ruga initiative to desist and give peace a chance, we place President Buhari and the Federal government on notice that they must act to halt and completely stop this raging madness within 30 days beginning from today, Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

“We warn the elders, political and religious leaders of southern Nigeria to urgently halt the inciting remarks that provoke hate against the North, keeping in mind that no single person or group has the sole monopoly of unguarded remarks that instigate hatred.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we advise the federal authorities and the southern leaders to heed the 30-day notice failing which we would most definitely be left with no option than to consider resorting to our decisive line of action,” the group warned, refusing to clarify the action it will take at the expiration of the ultimatum.