Embattled herdsmen from Oyo, Enugu, Niger, others heading to Kano — Miyetti Allah


  • Miyetti Allah, MACBAN
    File: From Middle: The National President of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) flanked by the National Secretary, Alhaji Baba Ngelzarma, and other members of the association

    Inside Danguje’s N2.5bn RUGA settlements in Danshoyia, Falgore forests

Amid rising tension over herders/farmers clashes in Nigeria, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State recently proposed the stoppage of the movement of cattle from North to South, leading to an ongoing debate on whether the proposal is capable of ending the crisis.

The message resonated so much as if the governor was making such a call for the first time.

Long before the latest tension in the country over the matter, Ganduje had made a similar proposal.

He even went ahead to suggest that foreign herders be banned from entering Nigeria.

In his recent call, the governor, a Fulani, restated his earlier position that the North/South movement of cows is responsible for the rising tension associated with the activities of herdsmen.

The Kano State helmsman revealed that he has built a Rural Grazing Area, RUGA, settlement in Kano where herders are being resettled.

Meanwhile, the leader of Fulani herdsmen and Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, in Kano State Zubairu Ibrahim, told Sunday Vanguard, at the weekend, that herdsmen from many parts of the country have indicated interest to relocate to the Kano RUGA settlement.

Ibrahim said some of them are from states such as Nasarawa, Niger, Enugu and Oyo states, among others.

He said herdsmen willing to relocate to its RUGA settlement provided by the state government are welcome so long as they would abide by the law.

Ibrahim added that herdsmen from five states have already relocated to the state.

According to him, “we have some Fulani herdsmen from Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, and Jigawa who are now in Kano. The governor has invited anyone willing to stay in the RUGA settlement to come. If they come and they are good people, nothing will stop us from receiving them.

“All they need to do is to follow the rules and regulations of government. They should go for grazing in the afternoon and not at night. Nothing can stop them from coming if they are interested.

“Since the governor of Ondo State has gone to the media to say that they (herdsmen) should vacate the area, instead of staying there they should leave. they should leave so that something bad does not happen to them and their property. They should just vacate the area for their safety.”

He commended Ganduje for fulfilling his promises and making history by resettling them in the RUGA settlement.

Fulani herdsmen have, for some time now, been in the eye of the storm over killing of residents, especially in the southern part of the country, after allegedly causing their cattle to graze recklessly in farms of farmers and, in the process, destroying valuable crops.

Mid last month, Ondo State government ordered herdsmen operating from the state’s forest reserves out of the place following kidnappings and ransom taking linked to them.

In Oyo, Yoruba activist Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho, led a group to give herders operating in Ibarapa area of the state one week ultimate to vacate the area.

An attack was subsequently launched on the Sarkin Fulani in the Ibarapa area, leading to the burning of some of his property and forcing him to relocate to Kwara State.

For several days last week, there were protests against herders in parts of Edo and Delta states by women against alleged criminal activities of herders.

The report below gives a full view of the Ganduje Ruga settlement in Danshoyia and Falgore forests where herders from several states of the South are allegedly relocating to.

By Bashir Bello

Kano State government is not leaving any stone unturned on the implementation of Rural Grazing Areas, RUGA, settlement project to resettle Fulani herdsmen.

The aim is to end incessant farmers/herders clashes and as well boost socio-economic activities in the state.

To this end, he seems to have matched his words with action by setting in motion works on the project which are in various stages of completion.

Sunday Vanguard learned that government selected Danshoyia Forest, Kiru Local Government Area of the state, which currently houses about 25 housing units of the first phase of 200 housing units to be constructed in the forest.

Other facilities on the masterplan of the RUGA project include industrial boreholes, veterinary clinic, dispensary, earth dam, milk collection centre, primary school, Islamiyyah school, Mosque, market and security outpost.

A lot of factors were said to have been considered before the location of the project was chosen.

The issues considered include the size of the area, closeness to market and the areas’ notoriety for habouring criminals.

Model houses

In fact, some forests where criminal activities take place were chosen and converted into RUGA settlements.

The project has two components being handled by the RUGA Committee and the Kano State Agro Pastoral Development Project, KSADP, with aid from the Islamic Development Bank.

The Committee oversees the construction of houses while KSADP supervises the provision of other infrastructures in the facilities.

Chairman of the RUGA Committee, Jibrilla Mohammed, had said the Committee settled for the Danshoyia Forest for the fact that it is very large with a sizable number of Fulani settlements and arable land for grass cultivation.

He explained that model houses of two bedrooms were being built in the form of clusters of six houses.

N2.5billion

On his part, KSADP Coordinator, Muhammad Garba, said N2.5billion was earmarked for the provision of facilities in the Danshoyia forest.

Garba who spoke through his Project Communication Specialist, Ameen Yassar, said N88 million contract has been awarded for seed modifications for growing grass.

He explained: “KASDP is handling another component of the project which is aided by the Islamic Development Bank. We are working in Danshoyia Forest where we intend to settle the herdsmen. We intend to grow grass and have even awarded a contract for seed modifications worth 88 million.

“We intend to spend at least N2.5billion in the forest to provide facilities such as milk collection centre, school for the nomads, mosque and market and so on. So while we are doing some of these things the committee is also carrying out its mandate. But our project is the main entity that is working in the forest.

Milk collection

“The state government through the committee is building a number of houses for the Fulani while KASDP is building the milk collection centre, markets, veterinary clinic, and other facilities.

“We are even looking at the possibility of constructing a bridge to link up the area. There is a stream that transverse the Danshoyia Forest and terminates at the Challawa Gauge Dam.

“KSADP will provide the much-needed solution to farmers/ herders conflicts, unfettered nomadism as well as enhance the development of pastoral communities.

“I want to believe that only a project such as this that can curb famers/herders clashes and security risks, improve farm yields, accelerate livestock production through adoption of modern best practices to generally improve the economic potentials of our small holder farmers.

“The project will improve the capacity of our herdsmen to produce and process more milk and pave the way for quality beef production. We believe that because of the security implication of nomadic lifestyle such as farmer/herders clashes and the fact that the old system of cattle rearing is more cultural than economical, things must change.

“We decided to create Ruga settlements in our forests such as Dansoshiya and with the help of this Islamic Development Bank, IsDB supported Project. We are going to make them full-fledged grazing reserves.”

Why we initiated project —Ganduje

Already, 25 units of the first phase of 200 housing units at Danshoyia Forest, have been commissioned.

At the commissioning ceremony, Ganduje provided more insight into the project, saying it was mainly conceived to address insecurity in not just Kano but also the entire country.

He said: “ The first reason is the problem of insecurity all over the country as a result of the conflict between the farmers and herdsmen. This is an old conflict that must be resolved in a very organized and scientific system.

“Also, the herdsmen who travelled from one state to another have to be resettled, from the northern part of the country to Middle Belt, southern and western part of the country, the journey results in conflict as a result of farmers/herders clash, religious, tribal, economic conflicts and a lot of lives are lost to these conflicts.

“Similarly, there is the problem of cattle rustling because cattle rustlers find it very easy when herdsmen are traveling from one state to another. These must stop. And the only way to stop it is to domesticate and resettle the herdsmen in one place so that they don’t cross the borders from one place to another.

Children of herdsmen

“Another reason we developed the RUGA settlement is to modernize the herdsmanship by modernizing the system of breeding our cows. We all know that the traditional herdsmanship, the cattle do not grow fat therefore meat and milk production is very limited. To modernize the system, that is why Kano State government sponsored 72 children of herdsmen to the Republic of Turkey to learn insemination and are now back to Kano and practicing attrition insemination.

An insemination center will be established in the RUGA facility. We will provide veterinary doctors and veterinary technicians who will assist with the modern system of breeding animals. It is necessary to improve and modernise the breeding system for Fulani cattle. As it is clear that a gallon of milk is more expensive than one gallon of petrol, it is, therefore, necessary for us to utilize this great opportunity. We are also thinking of establishing a modern abattoir so that haulage of cattle from North to South would be replaced with transportation of processed meat.

RUGA

“Another reason we develop the settlement is for human development of the herdsmen. We have to consider their education and health. We are providing primary and later secondary schools. This is because education is the pillar of development. I am also a Fulani man. When I was growing up I was involved in cattle rearing or herdsmanship. I took the cattle to the river and forest where they fed and later took them back home. The following day, the process continues. I was enrolled in a Primary school, sat for an examination and I passed it which qualified me for  secondary school. I proceeded to the university. I did my Masters and PhD.

I worked in the government and later joined politics and today, I am the Governor of Kano State. This is only possible because I was enrolled in a school. So my brothers and sisters from the Fulani tribe, you must enroll your children in school and the adults must join adult education. In this RUGA settlement, we are providing you with primary school and later on with secondary school and all facilities that will encourage and promote your education.

“Equally, we are providing you with health facilities and markets and all those facilities that will make you develop as a human being.

Falgore Forest

“Our intention in the first phase is to construct 200 housing units, now we have 25 and construction is going on. And we assure you that we will continue this project until we develop a huge RUGA settlement in Kiru Local Government Area.

“This is not the only site, in Falgore Forest, we are doing the same construction of houses and other facilities to ensure that the herdsmen are settled in one place. In Falgore Forest, we are also providing a training ground for the military so that cattle rustlers will not come after their cattle.

“I would like to invite all herdsmen in the country who will like to settle in one place. We have started providing infrastructure at the Danshoyia and Falgore forests. We invite all herdsmen to come to Kano so we provide them with such services. We know the socioeconomic advantage of these and we know how we can reduce conflict in Nigeria by such gigantic programmes.’’

Vanguard News Nigeria