Posted on Tue 9 Jul 2019, 08:26 AM

Elder statesman and former Minister of Information, has warned the Federal Government against reintroducing the suspended controversial Ruga scheme.

Chief Edwin Clark who is also the convener of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, said the reintroduction could lead to the disintegration of Nigeria.

Chief Clark admitted that it was good to diversity Nigeria’s revenue base from oil to other sources of income such as agriculture, but warned that policies to be introduced to boost agriculture must not offend the sensibilities of host communities or other parts of the country.

He said this in a chat with journalists in his Abuja home

“Ranching is the solution. If you want to maintain cattle rearing, it is ranching. That is what operates everywhere in the world. Even in less civilised developed countries in Africa. If you go to Brazil and East Africa, ranching is what they are doing. Even our founding fathers in the first republic established ranches. There were ranches at Obudu Cross River State, Ondo State and in the north. Nobody kicked against it but for you to introduce a settlement for resolving the problem between herdsmen and farmers is unthinkable.

“Nigeria belongs to all of us. It is true that this country has been depending on oil and gas. One appreciates the efforts of the FG to diversity into areas of agriculture; but the recent introduction of Ruga is an abomination to the entire people of Nigeria. It is obnoxious, it is unacceptable. We cannot remain in a country where various different groups of people live to make Nigeria since 1914 and today you are introducing some sort of settlement of a particular group of the country in every part of the 36 states simply because you believe you are solving the problem of herdsmen and farmers. That is not the issue; you are not solving it."

He demanded a total withdrawal of the project and not suspension because in his words,
“They should now withdraw it completely. Whether they suspend it for another 10 years or so, if it comes back, Nigeria will not survive as a country. It is good they withdrew it.  If they say they have just suspended it and they are bringing it back, no Nigerian will agree to it and that may be the beginning of the disintegration of this country. God forbid!”

 

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