Edo governor Obaseki lists ‘suitable’ places for Ruga settlements

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Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, has listed places he said are suitable for siting Rural Grazing Areas (RUGA) for herdsmen.

The federal government had approved the implementation of the initiative as a permanent solution to herders and farmers clash nationwide.

The project said to be optional, has been suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari due to the rejection of it in the southern part of the country despite been accepted in the North. The suspension further fuelled speculation that the government was on a land grabbing mission for herdsmen who are mostly from the same Fulani tribe with the president.

While speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr Obaseki rejected the creation of the settlements in his state, suggesting place he said where suitable for it.

“The Sambisa Grazing Reserve (4800 ha) is an ideal and symbolic place to take-off by establishing a ranch run by the military,” the governor said while delivering a lecture at the Department of State Services Institute of Security Studies (Executive Intelligent Management Course 12), in Abuja.

“It would significantly improve the security situation in the zone and encourage cooperation between pastoralists and the military.

“In the North West, the military should also be encouraged to create ranches in the Gidan Jaja Grazing Reserve (565,000 ha) for the same purpose of improving security and cooperation with pastoralists.

“So, the issue of giving state land for livestock, it won’t happen in Edo State.

“However, for individuals who have land and they want to go into livestock business like we are supporting people who are doing cassava and others, we as government will support them,” the governor added.