Godwin Obaseki, Edo state governor, has advised the Federal Government to kick start the RUGA settlement for Fulani herdsmen from Sambisa Forest, citing that the move would encourage cooperation between pastoralists and the military.
Speaking during a lecture in Abuja on Tuesday, 24th July, he said this is necessary because his own state is among states in the country that have no single land for the proposed Ruga settlement.
“The Sambisa Grazing Reserve (4800 ha) is an ideal and symbolic place to take-off by establishing a ranch run by the military. It would significantly improve the security situation in the zone and encourage cooperation between pastoralists and the military.
In the north-west, the military should also be encouraged to create ranches in the Gidan Jaja Grazing Reserve (565,000 ha) for the same purpose of improving security and cooperation with pastoralists (NWGPG, 2018).
“For us, because it is business like any other private business, the state should not really have much to except we create an enabling environment for those people we want to invest in livestock business. So, the issue of giving state land for livestock, it won’t happen in Edo State.
“In Edo state, we have found so-called herdsmen with maps in the forests, they clearly cannot be herdsmen who are dependent on their livelihood from their animal assets; that cannot be.
I think it is important in the context of this discourse to make that distinction between conflict as a result of economic activities, separate from deliberate conflict that is related to other issues like insurgency and terrorism.”