The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of seeking to colonize Nigeria through the establishment of Ruga farm settlements for herdsmen across the country.
It claimed that the Federal Government’s proposed plan was against the unity of Nigeria as the herdsmen had engaged in killings of innocent citizens across the country.
The body stated this yesterday in a statement titled: “SMBLF Rejects Ruga Settlements” and was signed by Yinka Odumakin for South West, Prof Chigozie Ogbu (South-South) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt).
SMBLF insisted that the establishment of the settlements would give the herdsmen more effrontery to attack and kill host communities.
According to the body, those interested in cattle business should on their own approach the Government of the state concerned to buy land and establish ranches under the prevailing regulations of such state.
The statement reads: “The idea is repugnant, repulsive and provocative as it seeks to colonize the rest of Nigeria under the guise of promoting cattle rearing ,which is private business that should not have the involvement of any responsible government, as lining the might of the Federal Government behind the business of one ethnic group in a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria can only come from a government that is not interested in its unity.
“In the last four years, we have seen the rate at which the Fulani herdsmen have turned non-Fulani communities into killings fields with the government turning a blind eye to all their crimes while using the instrumentalities of state to defend and shield them from interrogation.
“We challenge the Federal Government to tell us any court in the country where any herdsman is being tried today for all the killings, kidnappings, raping of women and destruction of farmland they have carried out against innocent citizens. As if the sinful silence of the government is not enough, it has now decided on a provocative measure to secure territories for them in all the 36 states of the federation.
“If the herdsmen as wanderers had perpetrated untold crimes against Indigenous people on a scale that is nothing but genocidal. It is left to the imagination what they would do when the Federal Government of Nigeria now force them on these communities as landlords.
“In no time, the Fulani herdsmen would make situation hellish for their host communities and life will become much more unbearable for them. The Fulanis across Africa would move in droves to these settlements and Nigeria will at the speed of lightning become an exclusive Fulani territory in West Africa.
“We, therefore, reject any attempt to establish any Fulani colony within our space in Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt. We warn all our Governors not to succumb to any pressure to cede an inch of our land for this awful project as any governor who does so would be seen as an enemy of the people he governs.
“Constitutionally and as affirmed by the Supreme Court, all land in each state is vested in the governor and not the Federal Government.”