Rather than suspend the cattle settlement programme, the Federal Government to perish the idea of reintroducing the policy, Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku said yesterday.
Calling for the “total cancellation” of the Ruga scheme, the governor described the scheme as a form of “colonialism”.
Speaking with reporters in Government House, Jalingo, Ishaku said the “suspension” of the scheme was not enough, as it still raises suspicion.
According to him, “ranching is the best modern practice of breeding cattle and solving the farmers/herders conflicts.
Lau, Zing, Ibi and Sarduana local government areas of of the state had been earmarked for Ruga. But the protests in many states, including Benue and Taraba, as well as outrage from well-meaning individuals, informed the scheme’s suspension.
Some youths in the state had described the scheme as “a threat to tribes in Taraba state and the nation at large,” adding that herdsmen troubling the state were aliens with an ulterior motive to grab the lands of the original inhabitants.
Ishaku, who officially kicked against the suspended scheme yesterday said: “Ruga is colonialism; it is not about cattle; it is not even about grasses. It should not only be suspended but should also be cancelled completely.
“The whole Ruga scheme should be canceled. You can’t do a Ruga in the entire country. I don’t accept it. It is not workable, and it will not work in Taraba state.
“Already, I have in place the Anti-Open Grazing Law in Taraba state that prohibits open grazing but encourages ranching. And we are making a lot of progress on ranching.
“I have submitted a request to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for us (Taraba) to be given a loan for us to do the ranching, but the CBN has refused to approve it, for reasons I don’t know.
“Otherwise, I would have showcased what ranching is in the state. It is the best form of practice in modern days, if indeed you are talking about cattle, grasses and grazing.
“But I don’t think they (federal government) are talking about cattle; I don’t agree that they are talking about grasses. They are talking about something else: colonisation.”