Since Sunday it’s been Ruga this…Ruga that! But what is Ruga really all about? It’s a tricky question to answer because it spirals into too many lines that seem to have entangled already even before the policy has kicked off.
The simplest way to summarize this complicated policy is that it is intended to provide cattle settlements across the country for herdsmen; and would open business opportunities for all Nigerians regardless of tribe.
Business here is in the sense of meat markets, meat processing, processing of by-products such as hoofs and horns.
Ruga is more politics than Economics
Unfortunately reactions to the new policy has revealed that Nigerians barely see any business side to it. Rather, the political and ethnic lines are stronger. And it’s easy to see why being that the term ‘Ruga’ comes from a Hausa term for ‘cow settlement.’
Leaders of the Afenifere group, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Urhobo Union, Middle Belt Forum amongst others have spoken out against the policy. However, perhaps not surprising too the Arewa Consultative Forum have pledged their support.
Wole Soyinka believes an explosion is coming
Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka believes Ruga is not the best way to address the herdsmen issue. He says it will ‘lead to an explosion’ if not handled with care.
“Cattle rearing should be handled more logically, and be more comprehensible to the environment,” he said.
But before Soyinka’s statement it was almost a straight battle between Benue State and the Federal Government who have said the state wasn’t part of the policy. However, Benue states says Ruga wanted three senatorial districts in the state.
It refused stating ‘they had no land for ranches as stipulated in the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.
Ruga, another poorly developed economic policy?
The strong political and ethnic backlash is a clear indication that it would take something supernatural for Ruga to be a success. If the government is truly sensitive to the people’s interests, it would review the policy to produce the true economic gains it should for every Nigerian.