RUGA goes South
In a bid to stymie the tide of herdsmen/farmers clashes, the federal government launched RUGA (Ruga is a Hausa term that means cow settlement) settlement scheme. An initiative to allocate more grazing areas to herdsmen but it appears the scheme is going south.
What went wrong?
The Implementation. Initially, the scheme was supposed to be optional but it didn’t seem so when it was announced.
This made the Southerners interpret this scheme as a forceful attempt to take over their lands, so they rejected the scheme causing the federal government to halt the scheme.
The northern youths in response didn’t take the rejection well and issued a 30-day ultimatum to every southerner residing in the north to vacate unless RUGA is implemented.
What does the law say?
According to the Land Use Act, 1977, all land in a state is held by the state governor in trust for the people. With the exception of lands belonging to the Federal Government in each state, usually land related to areas the Federal Government has exclusive jurisdiction over, like railway land, interstate highways, seaports, etc.
Here are a few questions raised by Dr Joe Abbah on the issue.
1. Has the Constitution changed or has the Land Use Act been repealed? If not, can the FGN unilaterally take land belonging to states to build Rural Grazing Areas? Or is it building them on its own land in the states?
2. Were the funds for the procurement of lands provided for in the 2019 Budget?
3. Are the settlements going to be built on FG or State land? If State, has the Governor allocated the land?
4. Are the RUGAs being built on FGN land in states where the state governor is not in support? If so, have any risk analyses been done to assess the potential for conflict within the host states?
5. What level of public consultation has there been on this issue?