President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday bowed to public pressure and suspended the controversial Ruga settlement scheme.
The scheme, which was designed to settle the Fulani and their cattle on acquired land across states in the federation, was agreed to be put on hold after governors representing the six geopolitical zones of the country met with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
However., the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, the Afenifere, has dismissed the suspension of the Ruga settlement programme by the Presidency, describing it as a ploy to buy time.
Afenifere’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, stated, “I think they are just buying time. We would have said they were bending to public opinion if the programme was cancelled.”
He expressed suspicion over the ultimatum issued by the northern groups and their threat to evict Southerners living in the north if the Ruga programme was not allowed in the Southern part of the country.
Odumakin noted, “How come the day the Ruga was suspended was the day a coalition of northern groups is issuing an ultimatum that the policy must be implemented within three weeks?
“We support the calls by different groups that a United Nations-supervised referendum should hold to determine whether we should live together under true federalism or go our separate ways.”
On its part, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) said it expected the government to cancel it.
The PANDEF National Secretary, Dr. Alfred Mulade, said the scheme could compromise national security and the safety of Nigerians.
He said, “The suspension is not enough, it should be cancelled outright because suspension is a temporary measure, what we want is total cancellation. Ruga shouldn’t be mentioned at all. It is against the collective peace and survival of the people of Nigeria.”