The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has berated Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, Walil Jubril over his support for the controversial Ruga settlements programme for Fulani herdsmen across the country, asking him to join his fellow “ethnic supremacists” to implement the programme in the North as it stands rejected in Southern and Middle Belt states.
The BOT chairman had argued, while speaking with journalists in his Nasarawa State home on Tuesday, that the proposed Ruga programme would promote peace and security in the country and urged Nigerians to embrace it.
Jibril also said that the programme would boost food security and improve the health and standard of living in rural communities.
However, in a statement Wednesday by its spokesmen, Yinka Odumakin (South West), Professor Chigozie Ogbu (South East), Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), the SMBLF resisted the call.
The group said that Jubril had confirmed their fears that RUGA was an ethnic conquest policy at variance with nationhood given his assertions.
It added that RUGA sought to create homelands for Fulani herdsmen all over the country in spite of the terror non-Fulani communities have been subjected to in the last couple of years.
“Southern and Middle Belt communities have rejected the internal colonialism agenda. We say to Jubril that his appeal for our zones to accept the obnoxious policy is rejected with no thanks,” the statement read.
“He should join his fellow ethnic supremacists to pursue RUGA in Northern states that have accepted the policy and spare us his sophistry.
“Our opposition to the policy remains unwavering and it will only be implemented in our communities after a military conquest of the entire South and Middle Belt, as we have told Femi Adesina that we will keep our lands and lives against the policy.”
SMBLF noted that although they adopted former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as their presidential candidate in the last general elections based on his promise to restructure Nigeria, they were not members of PDP.
“We charge all PDP governors in the zones to ignore Jubril, who has spoken as a champion of his Fulani ethnic group but wearing PDP’s badge. We say NO to Ruga!”
The President Muhammadu Buhari led government had few months ago, announced its intention to implement Ruga settlements for Fulani herdsmen in all the 36 states of the federation.
The announcement led to outrage from opinion leaders across the country, especially the South and Middle Belt, who noted that it was an attempt to “Fulanize” Nigeria and achieve Fulani domination of the country.
The government subsequently announced that it was suspending the programme, but agitations for its outright cancellation have continued.