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Soyinka: Ruga settlements may set Nigeria on fire

Valentine Chinyem

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Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has described the move to set-up RUGA Settlement across Nigeria for herdsmen by the Federal Government as a time bomb, which might eventually explode in future if not handled properly.

The professor said this while speaking on Tuesday at the launch of United Nations’ Solutions 17 SDG programme, in Lagos.

According to him: “Ruga is going to be an explosion if not handled with care. But why do we not take our policies from good models? This is not the way people and countries deal with issues of cattle.

“I travel everywhere. It has to be handled in a way that is logical, comprehensible to the environment. When a cattle walks up to the window of my house in Abeokuta, a house which is located in a residential area, then there’s a problem.

“When cattle goes to Ijebu Ode and eat up their plant seedlings and so on and you expect people to be quiet?”

He stated the handling of the herdsmen issue by President Muhammadu Buhari was enough to make him lose re-election.

“President Buhari deserved to have lost the last election for the lackadaisical attitude he took to the issue of cattle rearing in the country.

“People have been killed in hundreds just because of the failure of leadership at a critical time. And the cattle herders have been given a sense of impunity. They kill without any compunction, they drive away the farmers who have been contributing to the food solutions in the country, the cattle eat their crops and then you come up with Ruga.

“I think that there is going to be trouble in this country if this Ruga thing is not handled imaginatively and with humanity as priority. Any country where cattle takes priority over human life is definitely at an elementary stage,” he maintained.