Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, has joined other state governors in the South South, South East and South West, to reject the contentious Ruga settlement projects being proposed by the Buhari-led government.The Governor vehemently rejected it saying it will never happen in Edo state. Obaseki said this when he spoke while giving a lecture on the topic “Challenges of Pastoralism and International Migration for Sustainable Peace and Development: Edo State Experience” at the Department of State Services Institute of Security Studies (Executive Intelligent Management Course 12), in Abuja.
“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.
Our approach is, animal husbandry is a business just like we have poultry, piggery or what have you, so from that perspective, we want to now upgrade agricultural practices as it relates to livestock.
During the era of General Babangida, he set up ranches in Edo. We have one in Igarra and several parts of the state. They are either privatized or left fallow, so we are talking to people who purchased them to see how they can be re-activated.
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. However, for individuals who have land and they want to go into livestock business like we are supporting people who are doing cassava and others, we as government will support them.” he said
After public outcry and condemnation, President Buhari on July 3rd, suspended the establishment of Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) initiative for herdsmen in the country.