The governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has declared that the Ruga project is a must in the state if the country is seeking peace and stability.
Ganduje made the declaration in an exclusive interview with Blueprint Weekend, Thursday at the Kano House in Abuja.
He said, “Though the name has been bastardised. You can call it Ruga or rural settlement, but we need to understand who the herdsmen in Nigeria are.
“There are three types of herdsmen in Nigeria. The first are those who move because of climate change. They are in West Africa and are coming into Nigeria with thousands of cattle and usually they carry arms. From the beginning, it was to defend themselves, but now they have graduated into banditry.
“Movement of herdsmen from West Africa or Middle Belt to the northern part of Nigeria is non-attainable. That must be stopped, if we are seeking peace and stability.
“In order to solve the problem, as far as I am concerned, it is to ban the movement of herdsmen from one part of the country to another. For those who are already settled in different communities with different sense of culture and tradition and religion, nobody should tell them to leave that place, because they are Nigerians. However, they should negotiate with those communities on how to operate their herdsmanship in order not to encroach on farmlands.”
Speaking further, the governor said, “The way they do herdsmanship now is not economically viable. That is why I sponsored 75 children of Fulani herders to Turkey for artificial insemination and that is what they are doing now in the rural areas.
“If you settle the Fulani in one pace, you will be able to provide them with amenities like every other Nigerians. They will be able to have schools, hospitals, veterinary clinics, markets, security and be able to practise modern breeding of cattle.
“It is not the number of cattle that matters, but their productivity. That is why we are saying that a traditional herdsman has not succeeded in killing poverty and poverty has also not killed him. The way he is going about with a number of cattle, you cannot call him a poor man, but the way he looks trekking for miles cannot allow you call him a rich man.
“So, we are preparing to start Ruga in Kano now. Already, technical committees are working. There is a forest that is already being used as a training ground for the military, to avoid being inhabited by bandits and it will become grazing areas.”