ENUGU – The Igbo Ezue socio-cultural group on Sunday lamented that some political leaders and clandestine organisations and groups were using RUGA narratives to blackmail South East governors for the purpose of pushing their 2023 Agenda.
It also rejected any idea of establishing Fulani settlement anywhere in the South East.
In a statement it issued, the group said that “the unwarranted threats and name-calling by mischief makers” regarding the controversial RUGA settlement scheme was capable of unleashing calamity on the whole country.
The statement signed by the president of the socio-cultural group, Chief Ibeziamko Zimako Jnr, also said that Igbo Ezue is against any form of RUGA Settlement Programme on Igbo soil, adding that “no project of any nature that will encourage or attract Fulani herders’ settlements being established in South-East states by the Federal Government is acceptable to us.”
In the statement titled ‘Enough is Enough,’ the group said: “We hereby observe that the pressure, insults and abuse targeted at our South-East Governors are unnecessary and serve no useful purpose. We trust our Governors to do what is best for our people all the time. We are reliably informed that no approach or Memorandum on Ruga Settlement Programme has reached any state governor in the South-East.
“Everything is still based on rumours and speculations. In spite of this, our governors met and issued a statement on that. This is highly commendable. We call on our Governors, who must accent to any part of our land being used for the Ruga Settlement Programme or a similar programme to promptly reject such. We support their efforts towards maintaining peace and harmony among our people and people from other tribes in Nigeria. Ndigbo are peace-loving and hospitable people.
“We say, ‘Enough is enough’ to mischief makers! Enough of the blackmail against our Governors who are working hard to protect our land, ensure peaceful co-existence and deliver dividends of democracy to our people. We must not play politics with everything. Please leave our governors alone!” the statement warned.
The group lamented that the proposed but now suspended Ruga Settlement Programme of the Federal Government has “torn the nation apart along South-North and Fulani-non Fulani lines. Threats and counter-threats have come up from both the herders and farmers across the country. Most worrisome to us is the heat generated by the project in the South East. A video showing “youths of Nenwe” in Enugu state driving away cattle and herders from the town made rounds.
“It took press releases and conference by the Police, the Igwe of Nenwe, his people and the Governor of Enugu State, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to prevent what would have been a national calamity as Northern youths were already planning retaliation.
“The South-East Governors Forum had also issued a release on the Ruga Settlement Programme in their zone. The Governors rejected Ruga Settlement Programme and offered an alternative approach. In the heat of the Ruga controversies, President Buhari suspended the Ruga Settlement Programme in all the states of the federation. However, there is still tension across the country,” the group said.
The Igbo Ezue socio-cultural group added that “while it is true that the South-East and the South-South states are against the establishment of Ruga Settlements or any form of herders’ settlement in our states, mischief-makers have utilised the situation to cause friction among the Fulani herders and the South-East zone and planted fears in the minds of the people.
“Fake stories of invasion and attacks by the Fulani herders have been carried and posted on the internet. Many of the Ruga narratives are exaggerated and planted to blackmail the South-East Governors by some political leaders and clandestine organisations and groups to push their 2023 political agenda.” (News Express)