Buhari And The Ruga Controversy By Clarius Ugwuoha
By Clarius Ugwuoha RIGHTLY or unfairly, the PMB government lately seemed entangled with Myetti Allah and herdsmen as their welfare seem uppermost in the government’s agenda. Nigerians were used to herdsmen grazing their cattle peacefully along various grass-paths. Unknown was the phenomenon of gun-toting herders menacing farmers, kidnapping and killing and raping women. What gave rise to this frightening transformation is not certain. As their atrocities escalated, there were widespread speculations, given credence by government sources, that these were foreign mercenaries masquerading as herdsmen. They were from neighbouring countries and not the regular herdsmen we were used to, it was alleged. The whole country woke up to the Ruga controversy, nonetheless. A government that once dismissed the militant herdsmen as aliens from Niger, Mali and others, suddenly came with the ‘brilliant’ idea of resettling them in all states of the federation – a way to end the herders-farmers clashes! This implausible proposition was going to be fully funded with the tax-payers’ money. Cattle rearing suddenly became a national business with no known revenue to the country. The unprecedented hoopla that attended this anomalous proposition made the government to suspend the programme, while some Northern states like Kano took up the task of resettling their ‘kinsmen’. Never has the unity of Nigeria been so seriously threatened. Nigeria is annexed by an army of occupation made intractable by government apathy. It did not need visitations from potentates and letters from OBJ to drum home to the Buhari government that a cataclysm is afoot if the raging herdsmen are not reined in momentously. Nigeria cannot survive the pockets of armed insurrections if sustained. There are killings everywhere. In Zamfara, Katsina and Borno. Killings in Edo, Ogun and Enugu states. Killings in the Middle Belt and other parts of the country. Amid this chaos and carnage is the Rural Grazing scheme which only fueled allegations of a Fulanisation agenda. Instead of ebbing, it only keyed up the tempo of the already excited polity. RUGA is a recipe for balkanisation of the country if not abrogated entirely or redefined for the core North. It is not the solution to armed herdsmen menace. They operate with impunity and a sense of invincibility which the government’s nonchalance suggests complicity. We must first, before resettling them in the core North or anywhere, confirm their nationality, disarm and bring them to orderly civil comport. There is no rationale in resettling non-Nigerians even in Kano or anywhere. Non-documented immigrants ought not to stretch our resources. It is untenable. This is not allowed to happen anywhere in the world. Where nationality isn’t Nigerian or proven, these hoodlums ought to be expelled by instrument of the Nigerian armed forces. The indigenous herdsmen should embrace ranching in the core North. I emphasize the core North because every other part of the country is sensitized and hostile to herdsmen due to the activities of the bad eggs among them and due, of course, to fears of Fulani expansionist agenda. Any governor outside the core North drumming for Ruga is insincere, being political and has no backing back home. Ruga should be politically rested. It came at the wrong time, it is like a stifling mask for someone already gasping for breath. The government is not helping the Fulani sub-ethnic nation by direct or indirect complicity in their ill-advised altercation with almost all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. That one of theirs is in power today doesn’t make them owners of Nigeria. They once lived peacefully with the Hausas in the North. Reports allege bloody confrontations in various states. The current spotlighting of the Fulani nation is due of course to two issues: the activities of bad eggs among them and the complete silence of their elite fueling fears of collusion, does not tell positively of sagacity. It is evidently counterproductive. The PMB government swore to protect Nigeria and Nigerians. It would be improper to continue to watch the country burn without proper deterrents. All gun-toting militias need to be outlawed, and all trouble-makers prosecuted irrespective of origins, so that Nigerians do not resort to self-help with the attendant cataclysm. A stitch in time saves nine.