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RUGA: Middle Belt Forum Blows Hot Over Proposed Fulani Settlement

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, said it has unequivocally rejected in totality the proposed establishment of Ruga settlements in the region by the federal government.

The forum noted that the policy seeks to exclusively benefit a particular ethnic group against the rest of Nigerians.

Dr lsuwa Dogo, National Publicity Secretary of MBF said in a statement, “The attention of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has been drawn to the planned establishment of Ruga settlements for Fulani herdsmen all over the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT by the President Muhamamdu Buhari-led Federal Government.

“The plan to establish these so-called Ruga settlements was first unveiled by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammadu Umar. In a media interview in Abuja, Umar was quoted to have disclosed that the Ruga Settlement idea was the initiative of the National Economic Council (NEC) that was presented under the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).”

The forum explained that according to the Permanent Secretary, work is ongoing in 12 pilot states, with six Ruga settlements expected to be established in each of the pilot states.

“The final plan is to ensure that same is replicated in all the 36 states of the Federation, including the FCT. Going by the Permanent Secretary’s disclosure, no less than 222 of such settlements shall be built all over the country when fully completed,” the statement explained.

Accordingly to the forum, “An umbrella body of all socio-cultural groups in Middle Belt Region hereby unequivocally rejects in totality the proposed establishment of Ruga settlements in the Middle Belt, as it is a policy that seeks to exclusively benefit a particular ethnic group against the rest of Nigerians.

“In this line, we hereby declare our total support and solidarity for Governors Samuel Ortom of Benue and Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku of Taraba state who have developed the rare courage of raising their voices against unfair, unjust and oppressive policies of the Federal Government.

“On the other hand, we wish to denounce in totality the fraudulent and mischievous group that calls itself the Concerned Middle Belt Citizens Forum (CMBCF).

“This group, if it ever exists, has made itself readily available to be procured by detractors of the Middle Belt Region to insult our leaders and oppose any struggle aimed at emancipating the people of the Middle Belt,” the statement explained.

The statement observed that the local Fulani are living peacefully in their Ruga settlements scattered across the various communities in the Middle Belt and other parts of the country.

MBF added, “They have been going about their normal lives and returning to their settlements at the end of the day. As a matter of fact, these local Fulani are never homeless for government to tinker with the idea of building exclusive settlements for them.

“From available reports, the Federal Government has not just proposed but has gone ahead to commence the construction of Ruga settlements, mostly in Middle Belt states of Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Taraba, among others. Specifically in Taraba and Benue, the Federal Government has gone ahead to commence construction of these Ruga settlements against the wish of these state governments, amidst widespread protests by the people and in spite of existing laws that prohibit open grazing and provides for ranching.

“Going by the insistence of the Federal Government to forcefully establish these Ruga settlements, it suggests to us that the government is on a mission to settle criminal terrorist herdsmen that are behind the incessant invasions of our communities and displacing our people from their ancestral lands, thereby precipitating grave humanitarian crisis situation in the affected areas.”

Middle Belt Forum lamented, “Despite these incessant invasions of our communities, often times on a genocidal scale by marauding Fulani herdsmen, the Federal Government has never deemed it fit to apprehend, prosecute or convict any of the aggressors. Ironically, it is always the victims who try to defend their communities that are always hounded into detention by government agents.

“Sadly, all we ever heard from President Buhari is that these invaders are from neighbouring countries. The Miyetti Allah group has said the same. Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of Kaduna state has not only corroborated this fact that the invaders are from foreign countries, but also has confirmed paying compensation to them.

“Contrary to claims by the Federal Government that the Ruga settlement is aimed at addressing the incessant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers, our Forum insists that the plan is nothing but a ploy to import criminal Fulani from within and neighbouring countries to settle them in our communities in order to change demography for political, social and economic advantage in pursuit of the much-talk about ‘Fulanisation’ agenda of the present administration.

“If at all there is need for government to use tax payers’ money to build settlements for any particular group, it is for those homeless, starving and helpless citizens of our country who, for no fault of theirs, have been internally displaced from their ancestral lands by Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east, armed banditry in the North-west and Fulani herdsmen’s invasions in the Middle Belt and the South.

“The deplorable conditions of IDPs all over the country are pathetic and quite unfortunate. Any responsible and responsive government would rather focus its energies on ameliorating the suffering of these categories of people and not engage in the vain pursuit of ethnic chauvinistic agenda aimed at enthroning the supremacy of one group over others as an official state policy.”

BIG STORY

World-Famous Society Writer, Lanre Alfred Feeds Over 3000 Indigent Nigerians As He Adds A Year [PHOTOS]

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He is loved by many and respected among his ilk like he is fondly called, ‘African Prince’ by his friends simply because he is truly a prince of royal parentage and halts a princely heart.

Lanre Alfred as a celebrity journalist, author and businessman and publisher of The Capital; an online publishing platform, is former society editor and columnist at This Day Newspaper, author of five books and owner of Old English provision store with branches in Lagos

Lanre, on his birthday, generously doled out many good things to indigents people and this, he has been known for in past years.

This ace journalist, as many know he for, doesn’t give a hoot about giving to the underprivileged and he is remaining in that realm of generosity, philanthropy, charity, and human nature. And this is why many love him for his good gestures and kindness at all times.

Meanwhile, if not for COVID-19 pandemic in town, those who know Lanre as a man about town would readily tell that the man that writes about the intimate affairs of the rich, high and mighty of the society, would have painted the town red for his birthday because he has that pedigree and he calls all the shots when it comes to good partying.





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BIG STORY

Rape Epidemic: 12-Year-Old Girl Gang-Raped By Four Masked Men In Lagos

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A 12-year-old girl, Blessing (not real name), is said to be experiencing trauma after she was allegedly gang-raped by four masked men at her residence in Abijo area of Ajah, Lagos State.

She was said to have been raped while playing alone in the compound around 2 pm on Thursday.

According to Saturday PUNCH, the victim, a secondary school pupil, was left bleeding from injuries she sustained in her private parts.

When our correspondent reached out to her mother on Friday morning, the victim was said to be asleep after receiving medical treatment.

The mother, identified simply as Anthonia, explained that she was not in the house when the perpetrators raped her daughter.

“I went to the office and was called (on the phone) and told that my daughter was raped in our house. I learnt she was having her online class when suddenly, there was a power outage. My husband rushed out to get fuel at a filling station so that she could participate in the class seamlessly,” the mother recalled amid futile attempts to control her emotions.

She stated, “Favour told us that while she was in the compound, four masked men jumped into the house through the fence. They took her inside and took turns to have sex with her, leaving her with multiple injuries.”

The distraught mother said incidentally in her office, she was listening to a radio programme about the recent wave of rape incidents in the country on the day her daughter was raped. Little did she know that her daughter would also become a victim.

“Immediately I received the call, I became so mad. I headed for the hospital where my daughter was rushed to. When I got there, I was told she suffered from ‘vaginal trauma’. The underneath of her clitoris was bruised and she had a deep tear that made her bleed severely,” Anthonia explained, painting a graphic picture of the cruel assault.

“She could have passed out if not that her dad got back home early. She lost a lot of blood. The bleeding stopped after the tear was stitched; although, she is still experiencing very severe pain,” the mother added.

Anthonia said the case had been reported at Ajiwe Police Station in Ajah.

She said, “I don’t think we are secure anymore because it seems like we are being monitored. They perpetuated their evil within the few minutes it took my husband to buy fuel.

“They could not enter through the gate because of ongoing construction at a building opposite ours. The site was crowded and that made them avoid entering through the front door. They scaled the fence. Some policemen followed us to the house and saw how the attackers scattered our things around.”

When our correspondent called Anthonia back on Friday evening, the victim was said to be suffering from trauma and could not speak on the incident.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, said the command had been duly informed of the crime and investigations were ongoing.

He said, “The police have been duly informed of the atrocity and have commenced an investigation into the case. We are on the trail of the culprits. It’s a bit complicated because those guys wore face masks, which makes us suspect the culprits are people close to them. They probably covered their faces to conceal their identities.”




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BIG STORY

#JusticeForUwa: Students Protest In Benin, Demand Death Sentence For Sex Offenders

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Thursday occupied major streets of Benin City, the Edo state capital in protest.

The students demanded justice for Uwaila Omozuwa, an undergraduate of the University of Benin who was recently raped and killed.

They also demanded that a death sentence be pronounced for sex offenders.

The President of the students’ union, Danielson Akpan, spoke with Channels Television during the protest demanding justice for their late colleague.

The lawmaker representing Ovia Federal Constituency, Dennis Idahosa, who also joined the students in the solidarity march vowed that he would move a motion to support capital punishment at the floor of the house.

Meanwhile, the new Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Johnson Kokumo had earlier on Wednesday promised that efforts would not be spared in ensuring that the culprits involved in the circumstances that led to Uwaila’s death are apprehended and made to face the law.

Kokumo made the promise when he paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased.

Uwa, a 22-year-old student of UNIBEN was reported to have been raped inside a church where she went to read at the Ikpoba Hill area of Benin City, Edo State Capital.

The hoodlums were reported to have struck her in the head with a fire extinguisher after raping her and left her for dead. She was rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital where she later died.

The news of her death has continued to spark outrage with trends on social media demanding justice and an end to rape.

(Channels TV)




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