Why House of Reps hasn’t debated RUGA policy — Lawmaker

Posted by News Express | 14 August 2019 | 1,043 times

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•Rep member Chukwuma Umeoji

A member of the House of Representatives, Chukwuma Umeoji, has said that the lower chamber has not debated the suspended RUGA policy on the floor of the House for fear that it may increase ethnic and religious tension. Umeoji, who represents Aguata Federal Constituency of Anambra State, on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), made the disclosure in an interview with Daly Sun published on Wednesday morning. Below is the relevant part of the interview:

Question: There have been divergent opinions about the RUGA settlement project for herdsmen. There are insinuations that though the government has suspended the project, they might still want to implement it in another guise, what is your take?

Rep Umeoji: It will continue to come up in different guise. If you fight against it as RUGA, it will come up in another dimension. There is desperation behind the implementation of that policy. But I think the people are aware and conscious. Immediately you change the programme, the people will know and still kick against it. It is not a programme that is acceptable in some parts of the country. Even in the North, there are minorities who are not disposed to it.

But the areas where you can do it are in Sambisa which is bigger than Anambra. You can also have it in states like Sokoto and Katsina, but for you to use government machinery to enforce this type programme in a federation is going to be counterproductive because the people will resist it.

Why has no lawmaker raised the issue of RUGA settlement in the House?

There is a current trend in Nigerian political discourse. Hardly will you discuss anything without people reading negative meanings into it. There is always this negative reaction; if it is not tribal, it is religious. Immediately you say I don’t want RUGA settlement, the other man thinks you are saying I don’t want Fulani and it is not healthy for the progress of this country. If you mention, I don’t want RUGA, it will seem as if you are fighting against a particular set of people. But that is not what it means.

There should be RUGA settlement for states that have land, where it is in line with the cultural practices in that state. Forget RUGA or anything you call it. It is just where cattle will stay- ranching. RUGA is a political dimension to ranching where you displace a population and resettle people. I don’t think RUGA has anything to do with cattle rearing. Cattle rearing as it is done in modern society is through ranching.

Source: News Express

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