RUGA Settlements: A Strategy for Socio-Economic Activities and Conflict Resolution among farmers/Herders in Nigeria
Keywords:Clashes/Crisis, Farmers/Herdsmen, Niger State, Ruga settlements, Rural Residents.
Abstract The neglect of Grazing Reserves Law of 1965 by the succeeding governments after the First Republic in Nigeria has led to farmers and herders clashes/conflicts due to struggle over limited scarce resources such as lands, water, crops and grasses. The clashes/conflicts made the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the introduction of Ruga settlements plan in Nigeria. The Niger State government has already taken a lead through the rehabilitation of about 30, 000 hectares of the Bobi Grazing Reserve in Mariga Local Government Area and intends to increase the game reserve to 35,000/45,000 hectares.The objective of this study is to investigate the feelings of the residence concerning socio-economic importance and conflict resolution strategy using Ruga settlements plan in Bobi Grazing Reserve in Mariga Local Government Area of Niger State. The sample size of study was 100 respondents who are residents of the five villages (Oro, kamfanin-bobi, Durgu, Ukuru and Tashan-Bala) around Bobi Grazing Reserve. The major findings of this study are that 58% of the residence are aware of the Ruga settlement plan; 52% of the respondents are of the opinion that Ruga settlement plan will not reduce farmer-herders clashes and 71% of the people observe that Ruga settlement plan will create job opportunities for most unemployed youths in the area. In addition, 53% of the residence say that Ruga settlements plan will improve the quality of meat/milk production; 51% of the respondents indicate that Ruga settlement plan will increase income generation to people of the area and 90% of the respondents see Ruga settlements plan as a way to provide formal education to the children of farmers/herders in villages around the Bobi Grazing Reservein Mariga Local Government Area of Niger State.The study concludes that Ruga settlement plan around Bobi Grazing Reserve will reduce conflicts problem between farmers and herders but it will not eliminate it completely as the problem is an age long issue. However, the scheme will improve socio-economic activities of the people residence in the area as business activities will improve. The research recommends that Niger State government should do more of enlightenment campaign to sensitize the people living around Bobi Grazing Reserve as they do not believe that the Ruga settlement plan by government will eliminate the problem of farmers/herders clashes in Nigeria.