The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has expressed dismay over what they described as the insensitivity and impunity of the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Board of Trustees, Senator Walil Jubril, in his declaration of support for the controversial Ruga Settlement of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
It was reported Jubril as urging Nigerians to embrace the establishment of the now-suspended RUGA Settlement, stressing that the proposed settlement policy for herdsmen would promote peace and security in the country.
Speaking in his Nasarawa country home, he also explained that the programme would boost food security and improve on the health and standard of living of rural communities.
Reacting, Yinka Odumakin, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu, Senator Bassey Henshaw and Dr Isuwa Dogo from the South West, South East, South South and Middle Belt respectively, in a joint statement, observed, “The ethnic domination programme seeks to create homelands for Fulani herdsmen all over Nigeria in spite of the terror non-Fulani communities have been subjected to even when these herders are nomads.
“Southern and Middle Belt communities have rejected the internal colonialism agenda outrightly.”
The statement explained that the PDP BoT chairman has confirmed the fears that this is an ethnic conquest policy that is at variance with nationhood.
Jubril while declaring his support for the Ruga settlement said, “I and my ethnic group (Fulani) had embraced the programme. Ruga project includes provision of hospitals, schools, water supply and electricity, among other facilities, which will have direct bearing on the lives of herders.
“Apart from that, it will also tackle the incessant farmers/herdsmen’ conflicts as well as boost food security in the country.”
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum asserted: “We say clearly to Jubril that his appeal to our zones to accept the obnoxious policy is rejected with no thanks.
“He should join his fellow ethnic supremacists to pursue Ruga in the states in the North that have accepted Ruga and spare us his sophistry and non-sequitor .
“Our opposition to the policy remains unwavering and Ruga will only be implemented in our communities after a military conquest of the entire South and Middle Belt as we have told Femi Adesina that we will keep our lands and lives against Ruga policy.
“We are not members of the PDP, though we adopted Atiku as presidential candidate in the last election based on his promise to restructure Nigeria, but we call on all PDP Governors in our zones to ignore their BOT Chair who has spoken as a champion of his ethnic group but wearing the badge of their party.
We say NO to Ruga!”