RUGA is only way to end farmer-herder clashes, says Ganduje


Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state, says RUGA — an acronym for rural grazing areas — is the only option to mitigate clashes between herders and farmers.


In 2019, the idea of establishing RUGAs across the country was met with stiff resistance by some governors.


At the time, David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi and chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, said no area in the geo-political zone would be given for the establishment of such settlements.


The National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), which promotes ranching, appeared to be accepted by a majority of the governors but there has not been much in terms of implementation.


Speaking at the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Abuja on Monday, Ganduje said RUGA would afford herders land to graze their livestock and prevent them from going into farmlands.


“The RUGA or ranching, which has been deliberately politicised, remains the only option that would go a long way in mitigating existential problems, as pastoralists would have lands to graze without cattle encroaching on people’s farmlands,” the governor said.


“Because herders need fodder for their cattle and promote alternative means of producing feedstock, which reduces the need for grazing land.


 “We have gone far in the establishment of RUGA settlement in Kano. Already, 25 housing units out of the projected 500, situated on 4, 413 hectares of land at Dansoshiya Forest in Kiru local government have been completed and handed over to the herders. The replica of the houses will be displayed during an exhibition planned as part of this conference.


“Modernising the livestock sector is not only key to resolving the herder-farmer conflict but was envisaged that this economic investment pillar will support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches for improved livestock production through breed improvement and pasture production.”


Ganduje said there is a need to educate the herders about the development of grazing reserves in order to curb conflicts between them and farmers.


“It is also very important that we must also avoid the dangers of allowing these conflicts to harden to religious or ethnic conflicts,” he said.


 “This is the responsibility of political, religious and all other parts of our leadership elite in Nigeria.”

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