The Enugu State Government has debunked claims that it plans to establish a Ruga settlement in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the state.
Ruga entails the settlement of animals by farmers in an organised place with the provision of necessary amenities.
Residents of Nimbo Community were reported to have protested against the state government’s plan to establish Ruga in their community for herdsmen after they had invaded and killed 40 people in the community.
However, the state government in a statement on Saturday, confirmed that it was planning to establish modern ranches as part of its agro-industrial productivity agenda to turn the state’s dormant assets into productive assets as well as further stem the activities of kidnappers and other criminals, who masquerade as herders.
The government said it had no plans to cede any part of the state’s lands to herders in the name of Ruga or whatever name called.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr Aka Eze Aka, who signed the statement, described the reports and videos of a few individuals purportedly protesting government’s alleged plan to set up Ruga at Nimbo in Uzo Uwani LG as the handiwork of manipulators and political losers, who want to run the administration down for political gains.
Titled “Ranch is Not Ruga”, the commissioner stated “The attention of government has been drawn to insinuations and utter misrepresentation by some individuals of the good initiative of government to use ranch to further stem the tide of kidnapping and clashes between our border people and the herders.
“Enugu State Government is not engaging in any RUGA project in any part of the state and shall not do so. RANCH IS NOT RUGA.
“It has become necessary to explain matters regarding the design to use ranching, a modern method all over the world, to rear cattle. The recent viral messages and outcry of a few persons against what they construed as government intention to take over a portion of land in Uzo-Uwani LGA and give out to Fulanis in the guise of RUGA is but the unfortunate machination of those who wished to make a mountain out of mole hill for political reasons.
“The intention of government is clear on the matter. Armed bandits and kidnappers in the name of herders have for long taken advantage of our forests and farmland to commit heinous crimes, abduction, rape and killings.
“The government of Enugu State has resolved to put a stop to these and introduce ranching, the most modern way of rearing cattle.
“Recall that one of the outcomes of the attempts to introduce RUGA establishments in Nigeria was the suggestion to establish controlled ranching as practised the world over. When established, no cattle herder or dealer shall be allowed to roam non-designated areas with their animals for grazing.
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