The Midwest Movement, a pan-Edo/Delta group of distinguished sons and daughters drawn from the Ethnic Nationalities of the old Midwestern Region, has roundly rejected plans by the Federal Government to annex vast expanses of lands belonging to various indigenous ethnic nationalities in States across Nigeria, with the intent to establish colonies known as RUGA Settlements for Fulani herders.
The rejection, contained in a statement issued under the authority of the convener of the Midwest Movement, Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki, was a swift response to a reported decision by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Umar, who recently reiterated the intention of the Federal Government to establish these Ruga settlements in states across the country, within the next five years.
The Press statement by Midwest Movement, emphatically dismisses the decision by the Ministry as an untoward plan and while describing it as a brazen “21st century Colonization”, called on the Federal Government to immediately rescind the veiled plan to colonize the people of region, even as it enjoined the Governments of Edo and Delta States to reject same in clear and unequivocal terms, noting that the desire of the Federal Government to settle herdsmen or any other groups, should be done in areas and land that are native to such groups.
This statement is coming in the wake of total rejection by all the five South-East state governors, Samuel Ortom (Benue); Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and the Ondo State Government, who have rejected the Ruga settlements, saying they would not give out their land for herdsmen’s settlements in their states.
The full statement titled: REJECTION OF FULANI RUGA SETTLEMENTS IN MIDWEST TERRITORIES OF DELTA & EDO STATES and made available to the media on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, reads thus:
REJECTION OF FULANI RUGA SETTLEMENTS IN MIDWEST TERRITORIES OF DELTA & EDO STATES
The attention of the MIDWEST MOVEMENT, the pan-Edo/Delta group of distinguished sons and daughters drawn from the Ethnic Nationalities of the old Midwestern Region, has been drawn to the renewed plot by the Federal Government to forcefully or tacitly annex swaths of lands belonging to various ethnic nationalities in States across Nigeria, in a bid to settle Fulani herders in colonies to be known as RUGA Settlements.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Umar reiterated this untoward plan, on Tuesday 25th June 2019 in Abuja. Reportedly, The Federal Government within the next five years, plans to establish these said Ruga settlements in states across the country.
The Midwest Movement totally and unequivocally rejects this brazen “21st century Colonization” in its entirety!
We call on the Federal Government to immediately rescind its planned veiled colonization of our peoples, while enjoining the Governments of our home-states of Edo and Delta reject same in clear and unequivocal terms. While not opposing the desire of the Federal Government to settle nomadic herdsmen (and any other such groups whatsoever), these should be done in areas and land that are native to such groups. The planned aggregation in whatever guise, of the lands of the 12 ethnic nationalities of the Midwest Region of Nigeria, without recourse to consultations with the traditional and bonafide owners, is akin to an invasion.
As peace-loving people, and firm believers in a One Nigeria where peace, justice and equity reigns, the Midwest/Bendel peoples of Delta and Edo States firmly advice the Federal Government against the perpetuation of any policy that may impact negatively on the seeming already strained unity of the Nigerian federation.
We call on Mr. President, the Governors of both Edo and Delta States, our national legislators, our leaders, the international community and all persons of goodwill to help keep Nigerians and its indigenous peoples safe.
God bless Nigeria.
Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki.
26th June 2019.