By Eseoghene Emuke
The apex socio-cultural umbrella of Urhobo Nation, Urhobo Progress Union, has rejected the Federal Government’s proposed Ruga settlement for herdsmen across the country, saying that the scheme would not solve the frequent clashes between farmers and herders.
UPU stated that the scheme was another subtle plot by the government to forcefully grab land from local communities across the country for herdsmen which President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier claimed were not Nigerians.
UPU in a statement on Tuesday signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Abel Oshevire, urged the Buhari-led government to immediately jettison the proposed plan as it is capable of fueling renewed clashes not only between herders and farmers but communities whose land were collected for such purpose.
The statement warned that the Fulani ethnic nationality should not be given preferential in a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria at the detriment of other ethnic nationalities so as to avoid the looming chaos in the country.
It stated, “The Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), worldwide wishes to reject in its totality, the Federal Government’s proposed Ruga settlement for herdsmen, which is a subtle attempt by the government to forcefully cede lands across the country to the Fulani people.
“By insisting on going ahead with the unpopular and repugnant policy, whether optional for states as claimed by the Presidency, the Federal Government has openly demonstrated its insensitivity to the feelings and yearnings of other Nigerians.
“It is most unreasonable, uncharitable, callous and unfair to impose a policy, no matter how good such a policy might be, on the majority, just to satisfy the whims and caprices of a tiny minority.
“It is indefensible that this government is bent on implementing a policy that has been stoutly rejected by virtually every ethnic nationality in the country. Are we a conquered people? Are we not in a free country and practising democracy, where the will of the people should prevail?”
The statement further stressed that the Urhobo ethnic nationality should be counted out of the plan as her people have no land for Ruga Settlement.
“Let it be categorically stated that the Urhobo Nation will never cede an inch of her territory to any stranger under any guise. As the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria, nobody can intimidate or compel us to give up our God-given land to any stranger against our will.
“The Federal Government has not commandeered land in any part of Katsina State to give to Urhobo farmers living there or any part of Nigeria. We are all equal stakeholders in the Nigerian project. Nobody is a second-class citizen in Nigeria, certainly, not the Urhobos”, UPU further added