A Highly respected elder stateman, Chief Edwin Clark is known for his views on national issues, the former federal Commissioner for Information recently bares his mind on critical national issues including the now suspended Ruga and some other national issues.
Let me say this. One cannot just be criticizing every action of government because one is not part of it or because you are not a member of that particular party or you are not a politician.
Nigeria belongs to all of us. It is true that this country has been depending on one resource alone, which is oil and gas. And so, one appreciates the effort of the federal government to diversify to agriculture that the country was known for in the past. Agriculture covers every aspect whether animal husbandry or crop farming. But the recent introduction of Ruga is an abomination to the entire people of Nigeria.
It is obnoxious and unacceptable. We cannot remain in a country where various and different groups of people live to make up what we call Nigeria since 1914 and today, you are introducing some sorts of settlements for a particular group of this country in every part of the 36 states simply because you feel that you are solving the problems between the herdsmen and farmers.
Ranching, if you want to maintain cattle rearing or anything like that is the way to go. That is what operates everywhere in the world, even in some less civilized, developed countries of Africa. Go to Brazil, East Africa, ranching is it! Even our founding fathers in the First Republic established ranches everywhere. There is one at Obudu, there is one in Ondo State. There is one in the North. Nobody kicked against it.
But for you to introduce settlements as a means of resolving conflicts between herdsmen and farmers is unthinkable. Let’s go back. We have been living with Fulani and their herds for a very long time. When I was even very young, they lived with us. When they were bringing their cows, they had only sticks. They waved the stick and everybody gives way but today, what have we seen? We now see herdsmen armed with AK47 all over the country moving around killing people, maiming people, raping women, killing children and so forth. They destroy farms and today, no single one has been arrested, no single one has been caught.
And that is the country we belong to. It seems that armed herdsmen that came from the Niger Republic, Libya and other places as government said, are the ones to be settled in our midst, not the Fulani with cows going around every time. Those are not the ones they want to settle. I disagree with that project. And I was very happy that the Vice President for the first time disagreed with the Presidency. And everybody is now coming out to say that they were not party to the decision. They should not only suspend it, they should withdraw it completely. Whether they suspend it for the next 10 years, when it comes back, Nigeria will not accept it as a country. It is good that they suspended it but if 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!