RUGA: church sermon today was raw and totally off the chain. By Adewale Ajadi
I do not think the officials behind the RUGA idea understand fully how ethnocentric the Nigeria is or has been! This mess could have been avoided. Whatever the merits of a cattle colony and there are a lot , the potential of misrepresentation will advice it cannot simply be accepted as a possibility for the livestock or even limiting roaming of pastoralists, simply, the high level of probable mischief is inevitable. Farmers have had exclusive Government intervention forever and still do including things like River Basin clusters and reservation on Agriculture including regular Federal Government land preparation for planting seasons et al. However anything that suggest Government help exclusively for Pastoralists will generate hysteria. First the President is not just Fulani partly , but also a cattle farmer, second the stereotype of the Fulani as exclusively Muslim lends itself to the constant attack that his goal is islamisation and finally recent conflict with the now permanent ‘killer herdsmen’ stereotype, all these should have led to a very different handling of this issue. It is now a very dangerous issue with the government trapped into a no -win situation. If they go ahead these framing adds to the fragile nature of the public space and if they do not it is as if they are doing nothing about roaming of cattle and their effect. My suggestion is do a pilot in two states only and then do alternative pilot with mixed farmer /herders colony and then review with a panel which includes some of the critics and sceptics. We genuinely need to reduce not increase heat and unfortunately this RUGA is going to generate unneeded heat. The facts are now totally irrelevant and as I found listening to Sermon in church today the responses are raw and totally off the chain.