PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has suspended his controversial plans to introduce cattle colonies across the country under what was termed the Ruga Settlement Project in response to widespread opposition to the idea.
Over the last month, the political temperature in Nigeria has risen substantially after it emerged that the federal government is proposing that states make land available to Fulani cattle herdsmen to allow them create livestock colonies. Coming against a background whereby Fulani cattle herdsmen have carried out numerous murderous attacks against farming communities, the move has created fear.
Within the last five or so years, heavily armed herdsmen have been attacking villages, particularly in the Middle Belt, murdering thousands of innocent villagers. Several state governors have suggested that herdsmen should establish private ranches to raise their livestock, to end the practise of them marching their animals across the country along grazing routes.
In defiance of calls for cattle rearing to be made a private commercial matter, the presidency had proposed forcing states to make land available to herdsmen. This has generated widespread anger across the country, with several pan-cultural groups and state governors vowing to oppose the measure.
Faced with a mutiny within his own party, President Buhari has been forced to suspend the programme until further notice. It is believed that the president will now subject the idea to a thorough review with a view to formulating a plan that is acceptable to all the component parts of the country.