Fulani herder watches over his cattle. Credit: CC

Akwa Ibom State government has berated the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang over his recent comments on RUGA settlement, saying it was based on greed and a desperate quest to cling to power despite already spending 20 years in public office.

Enang had last week in a radio programme, while defending the controversial federal government Ruga initiative which seeks to establish settlements for Fulani herdsmen across the country, said that most of the cows in Akwa Ibom were owned by ‘big men’ in the state who employ Fulani herders to tend to them. He had also said that N2.2billion had been provided in the 2019 budget for Ruga. 

He proceeded to name serving and former national assembly members, serving and retired army generals, among others, in the state as owners of cattle.

The state government however, in a response through a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Udoh, noted that “traditionally, the people of the state, across all strata of the society are not known to be cattle herders.”

The government argued that, “It, therefore, borders in a seeming extreme dementia and outright mischief for Ita Enang to taint the hideous act of the herdsmen on innocent citizens with a political coloration.

“The comments made on a live radio programme; may, on a cursory look sound like another of his lame political gamesmanship, but beyond that facade, it becomes a matter of grave concern when a man of his standing deliberately makes statements capable of heating the polity in his home state and causing security breaches.”

The state government wondered why such a “vile assertion” should come on the heels of the attack on innocent and defenceless farmers in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area by gun-wielding herdsmen; which left one person dead and several others injured .

The commissioner noted that the action of Enang was fast becoming a pastime, given his “penchant for notoriously launching nauseating attacks on his people in a brazenly desperate attempt to cling selfishly to political relevance.”

He emphasized that, “The world is aware of the alarming increase of herdsmen- orchestrated attacks on innocent people, which are spreading like wildfire across the country but have remained largely unchecked.

“It is common knowledge that reasonable indigenes of most areas previous ravaged by the herdsmen attacks have risen in one voice and one unison to condemn such dastardly acts; irrespective of political affiliations. It is unfortunate that Mr. Enang has chosen the dishonourable path of “political celebrating the death of his kinsmen instead of commiserating with them.

“It’s a clear indication of a man who seeks to politicise every situation to a point of cutting his own nose to spite his face,” the statement maintained, adding that Senator Ita Enang is “inadvertently and heartlessly canonising cold-blooded murders and slating the innocent victims.”

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