By Afarm Okafor Afsok

As the news of the Federal Government’s suspension of the controversial RUGA settlement of Fulani herdsmen project in all the states of the federation filtered the air.


Most Nigerians for the first time, rather than rejoice for having seemingly succeeded in making the Buhari led administration to cancel such unpopular policy through their outright rejections of the whole idea and its attendant restiveness, are instead thrown into grotesque apprehension about the sincerity or otherwise of the sudden change of plan.

Their fear is that it may not be over after all

To fully appreciate why most Nigerians are suspicious of RUGA’s real objective, one needs a thorough knowledge of Fulani history in Nigeria and vis-a-vis the tacit penchant of President Muhammadu Buhari for cattle’s welfare.


Recall that former president Olusegun Obasanjo recently alleged that the Buhari government is on a mission to “finalize and Islamize” Nigeria, an issue that has been generating heated argument across the country. While many people did not see that as a surprise owing to President Buhari’s inability to take decisive steps so far towards ending Fulani herdsmen attacks on innocent, helpless and defenceless law-abiding citizens across the nation which could also be seen as furthering their conquest agenda, the group has instead been relatively pampered and to a large extent protected.

The Fulani race is known for migrations and fecundity. From the days of Othman Dan Fodio, they have spread to many parts of the country, infiltrating the real indigenes of such lands as can be seen today in most northern states, converting them to Islamic religion or decimating those communities into submission.

Today, most communities in Benue State have witnessed the worst form of depredation. Many of them have been sacked from their homes with their farmlands ravaged and all sources of livelihood destroyed while there is no sign of slowing down from those peripatetic and belligerent elements.


Regrettably, what the Buhari government has focused on is how to appease the Fulani herdsmen. First, it was how to build cattle colonies which were rejected by many states, then few other proposals and finally from nowhere, the RUGA!.

One wonders how come the present administration is so concerned about “cattle” which is not and has never been government’s business. Why is PMB such an aficionado of cattle welfare even at the expense of other sensitive national issues like rooting out Boko Haram insurgency, armed banditry and the alarming rate of kidnapping which have all assumed unprecedented dimension in the country.

So when all these are considered against the backdrop of Chief Obasanjo’s prediction, it raises the debate beyond whimsical or parochial views. This is a serious matter of concern.

It will be recalled that in a speech delivered by President Buhari at a certain seminar organized by the Supreme Council of Sharia in Nigeria said “I will continue to show openly and inside me, the total commitment to the Sharia Movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria, God willing, we shall not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country”

The statement was published in The News Magazine of Jan 19, 2015. So based on such stand, it will require monumental effort to disabuse the impression most people hold about the dubiety of the RUGA project.

Based on the foregoing, one can see that suspension may not really mean jettisoning. The fear of smart repackaging and stealthy implementation exists. This can’t be incautiously swept under the carpet. It may not be Uhuru yet.

To fully appreciate why we can’t go to sleep with our two eyes closed, just read the following;

May common sense prevail.

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