The former President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr. Bunmi Ajayi, has said the suspended Ruga settlement programme is a failure of town planning rules and regulations and “government’s insincerity”.
He spoke at the 40th anniversary of Molaj Consultants, a town planning consulting firm, where he was the principal consultant.
Ajayi said Ruga should be private sector driven while the government should create an enabling environment for investors to set up ranches and run them profitably.
He said the colonial masters provided cattle routes which herders followed and never destroyed farms or engaged in conflicts, citing the Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River State as an example.
He wondered if the government would make the same provision for poultry and piggery farmers across the nation.
Ajayi said the policy was ill-conceived, wrongly timed and in bad taste.
He said: “The failure of town planning is best illustrated by the failure of government to change the re- alignment of the cattle route to avoid conflict between herders and farmers as the population grew. Agencies of government in charge of population also failed to note that population figure from the 70’s is not the same today and that some people with expansionist tendencies would want to create chaos in the country. Town planning practice in the last 40 years is not same as today, the technology has challenged, if any planner want to be relevant he must grow with the times why is it difficult for the government to do right thing if colonial masters thought of it decades ago.”
Ruga Settlement, according to the government, seeks to settle migrant pastoral families in an organised place with provision of necessary and adequate basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets and manufacturing entities that will process and add value to meats and animal products.
The benefits to the nation, the government said, include a reduction in conflicts between herders and farmers, a boost in animal protection complete with a value chain that will increase the quality and hygiene of livestock in terms of beef and milk production, increased quality of feeding and access to animal care and private sector participation in commercial pasture production by way of investments.