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‘Ranch Isn’t RUGA’: Enugu Government Denies Establishing Settlement For Herdsmen

It said the false reports were spread by “political losers” to run the administration down.

The Enugu State Government has debunked the claims that it plans to establish a Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, saying it instead plans to establish modern ranches as part of its agro-industrial productivity agenda to turn the state’s dormant assets to 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 Fulani headers in the name of RUGA.

The state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr. Aka Eze Aka, who made the clarifications in a statement issued on Saturday, described the reports and videos of a few individuals purportedly protesting government’s alleged plan to set up RUGA for the Fulani at Nimbo in Uzo Uwani LGA as the handiwork of manipulators and political losers, who want to run the administration down for political gains.

In a statement entitled “Ranch is Not RUGA”, the commissioner said: “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’s 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 molehill for political reasons.

“The intention of the 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 practiced the world over. When established, no cattle herder or dealer shall be allowed to roam non-designated areas with their animals for grazing.

“The state government, therefore, is resolved to strictly implement the laws against open grazing in any part of the state.

“As a result, specific areas designated for grazing shall be created, managed and held in trust by the government. It is the idea of the government to build a modern abattoir around each ranch from where all processing of meat is to take place before sale to other parts of the state.

“Consequently, all cattle movement transported from the northern part of the country stops at the ranch for proper inspection and revenue build-up.

“Government cannot allow fabulists and political manipulators to take advantage of social media to work the people to frenzy against the government’s programmes and projects.

“Our people are, therefore, called upon to closely understand the good intentions of the government and know that the ranch is not RUGA,” the commissioner explained.

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