The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), a group of Elders from the Niger Delta, has rejected the plan to establish Ruga settlements for herdsmen across the country.
Alfred Mulade, PANDEF’s national secretary, made this known in a statement where it accused the Federal Government of making the “disturbing decision unilaterally”.
It also alleged that the government is disrespecting the rule of law, saying the power to allocate lands was vested in governors and called on governors to reject the idea, saying “it is capable of undermining the prevailing relative peace and security in the region.”
“Without any equivocation, PANDEF strongly condemns the programme and hereby states that there is no land anywhere in the Niger Delta Region for the establishment of such settlements for herdsmen,” the statement read.
“It is quite disturbing that in a democracy, the Federal Government would unilaterally decide the establishment of Ruga settlements or cattle colonies.
“It is necessary to note that the Land Use Act, enacted in 1978 to regulate land tenure and administration systems, and to ensure effective and equitable utilization of land and land resources in the country, vests all urban land within a state in the state governor, and all non-urban land in the local governments in which they are found.
“This disrespect to the Rule of Law with impunity and authoritarianism neither fits into the practice of Democracy nor supports Mr President’s recent recommendation of True Federalism for Nigeria.
“In fact, along with the re-submission of the Inland Waterways Bill and the approval of a Radio frequency for the establishment of Radio stations for herdsmen by the Federal Government, there is only one inescapable conclusion, and that is, Nigeria is towing a catastrophic destiny.”