When President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration came up with “The Ruga policy” which was aimed at resolving the conflict between nomadic Fulani herdsmen and sedentary farmers, it was widely condemned and rejected by most state governors and many Nigerians, but a governor went straight to business as his state was badly affected by the crisis. Governor Bello Muhammed Matawalle bought the argument of the Federal Government that this policy will bring about lasting peace.
During my visit to Zamfara and my stay in Maradun, I took a tour of the site and I became convinced this policy surely has a role to play. Though not completed, it is easy to have a clear understanding of the vision of the project.
You will be greeted by a police post and as you tour the facility, your imagination comes alive. There are completed houses with the architectural design of these modern buildings projecting the habitation of a herder. Each building has its perimeter secured and have a paddock to keep for each household to keep its herd. These buildings are of 2, 3, and 4 bedrooms and we have hundreds of it completed.
On a further drive into the facility, I saw blooks of classrooms for preparatory, primary and secondary schools for the inhabitants, a staff quarters for the teaching and non teaching staff and was informed the curriculum will be a fusion of nomadic and western education.
There are structure in place for butchery, veterinary clinic and clinic on the premises. There are also over 500 water channels/canals for their herds to drink from. There is an irrigation system which gives the grazing area an all-year green vegetation. There is a massive water supply for both grazing and domestic use as a dam is in place to see to the sustenance of water supply.
I was informed of plans to pave all the roads on the facility and one would see Street light poles installed all over. There is an orchard with plants sprouting out of the ground which will blossom in a function of time. One great thing I noticed was the facility is completely fenced and have provision for surveillance cameras to cover the entire facility.
Just as the FG has abandoned Governor Matawalle and the State in their quest to end insecurity, this policy(Ruga) has been suspended after the state had committed so much funds into the project, the Governor is unfazed and committed to completing the project in due time.
He told me what gives him joy and emboldens his convictions about the prospects and success of the project is growing population of herders who have settled around the facility waiting for its completion and hoping to be beneficiaries of the scheme.
While he also agrees funding had been a big issue, he has opened talks with international development partners to come on board.
After my visit to Ruga and my conversation with His Excellency, all I see is a man who is committed to serving and securing his people.
He is surely doing more than lips service to RUGA and other policies which will put an end to insecurity in Zamfara State.