*Accuses UNDP of alleged subterfuge:
The prominent civil Rights advocacy group and pro-democracy platform – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to clarify the story making rounds that the rejected settlements scheme for Fulani herdsmen known as RUGA has started being implemented by other means.
HURIWA also dismissed as insufficient the ridiculous explanation by governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state that RUGA has not commenced in Ebonyi state even when video recordings are trending to show the suspicious state sponsored forceful relocation of Fulani speaking persons into a community in Ebonyi state under the guise that they bought lands to resettle. HURIWA said the embargo on criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari unilaterally imposed by the Ebonyi state governor banning his people from doing so makes him an interested party who has lost the independence to speak for South East of Nigeria. HURIWA faulted the heavy security that escorted the new Fulani settlers in Ebonyi state as shown by the video and confirmed by eye witnesses because freedom of movement of all Nigerians guaranteed did not specify that Nigerians from other Ethno-religious affiliations could be resettled in other parts of Nigeria even in such suspicious circumstances. The Rights group said there would have been no need to raise objections over the movements of citizens which is their constitutional but the fact that heavy security forces escorted them into a strange community shows the elements of doubts and points to the conspiracy theory that RUGA may have started from the backdoors.
The Rights group has also tasked Nigerians to demand answers from the United Nations if it has allowed the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to use the influential positions of Fulani born Mrs. Amina Mohammed and Tijani Mohammed Bande the President of United Nations General Assembly for this year both in the United Nations to now deploy one of the agencies of the United Nations (UNDP) to undertake the Ruga programme to avoid detection by Nigerians who rejected it.
HURIWA stated that it was alarmed that the Nigerian office of the United Nations development programme (UNDP) has just advertised jobs that it plans to carry out within Nigeria which bears suspicious semblance to the much disputed Ruga programme.
HURIWA asserted that there was the immediate need for clarity because the UNDP’s advertised job which is for Benue state has no difference with what we were initially told would make up the RUGA programme just before majority of Nigerians including Benue state government rejected it forcing the Federal government to suspend its implementation.
The advert published on the website (https://www.justjobsng.com/2019/10/national-consultant-for-land-clearing-at-united-nations-development-programme-undp) says United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), helps developing countries attract and use aid effectively. In all our activities, we encourage the protection of human rights, capacity development and the empowerment of women; National Consultant for Land Clearing; Post Level: National Consultant; Type of Contract: Individual Contract; Expected Duration of Assignment: 10 Days; Duration of Initial Contract: 10 Days per Location; Starting Date: (Date when the selected candidate is expected to start)21-Oct-2019.
The Background of the job says: “The implementation of this pilot project will specifically achieve the following objectives; To reduce the vulnerability of affected persons through community-based protection by enhancing ability of affected communities to identify and mitigate risks and threats while ensuring that there is no interruption in livelihoods and productive activities.
Besides, HURIWA noted that the UNDO offered further backgrounds to the programme as follows: Livelihood and empowerment of community members in intensive production of pasture, management of fodder bank and provide training on pasture management for community members, particularly youth and women. The animal husbandry, nutrition value addition and linkages to markets will also empower the cattle breeders just as Conflict prevention and peace building by establishing a state peace architecture was mentioned just as local peace committees in conflict affected LGAs to foster dialogue and non-violent resolution of disputes.
HURIWA stated too that National and regional mobilization on the promotion of Human Security at national and sub-regional levels was listed as the background.
The Objectives of Land Preparation: The main objective of land preparation is to create a favorable environment for adequate rainwater harvesting that would support the seeds or plants to germinate and grow over a longer period during the rainy season. Adequate land preparation will help to:
Improve soil structure (better ventilation, permeability, and loosening of the root zone) to make root penetration easier; Improve field topography in order to facilitate rainwater harvesting or irrigation; Distribute weeds and crop residues evenly over the field and incorporate them into the soil structure; Obtain good recovery of fertilizer nutrients; Control weeds.
HURIWA recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had suspended the controversial Ruga programme, as announced by the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi announced on weeks back.
Mr. Umahi made the announcement after a meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) committee on farmers/herders crisis. The meeting held at the State House, Abuja.
“We are aware today that Mr. President has suspended the implementation of Ruga programme, initiated and being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, because it is not consistent with the NEC and Federal Government approved National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) which has programmes of rehabilitation of displaced IDPs, resulting from the crisis and also development of ranches in any willing state of the federation,” Mr. Umahi said.
The NEC is headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo and had developed the NLTP as a long-term solution to the perennial herdsmen and farmers crisis.
The Ruga is a programmed recently announced by the federal government to enable willing states to contribute large areas of land to the federal government for construction of animal husbandry settlements.
The presidency had said 12 states have indicated willingness to be part of the programme.
The Ruga programme has, however, been criticized by many Nigerians with many state governors opposing it.
Umahi had ambiguously stated thus: “The National Livestock Transformation Plan, its beauty is that what NEC and FG approved is a voluntary programme to all the 36 states who may like to participate. So, it is not compulsory, it is for any state that is willing, will key into the programme.
“Any state that is interested in this programme is required to bring up a development plan that is keyed towards the implementation in line with our own programme here that is unique to his state based on the challenges that he has in respect of the crisis. That’s the decision of this committee,” the governor said.