Ruga suspension: “Northern ultimatum calls for war,” says Ethnic Defense group

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Flaming petrol station in Jos, Nigeria - representative image

A Nigerian pressure group called Ethnic Nationalities Defence organizations (ENDO) has said the 30-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government by Northern youths to resume the suspended Ruga settlement program is a declaration of war.

Fulani cattle herders have trespassed on lands in the Middle-Belt for grazing and in some cases, takeover but have never been challenged, said ENDO in a press statement, Thursday.

With the fresh threats by the Northern youths, any attempt at “trespass, land grabbing and colonization” by herders will henceforth be unacceptable, the statement signed by the ENDO President, Mr. Dauda Maiyaki and two others says.

It says, “The game is over! We are advising and warning the Fulani militia as well as the Miyetil Allah Association against attacks on any Southerner in Northern Nigeria after the 30 days’ ultimatum given.”

The group further warned Governors against donating lands for the proposed project.

“All governors, traditional rulers and politicians who out of fear, cohesion or threat agree or collaborate to cede an inch of land in the Middle Belt or any Southern State for any form of herders settlement or colony shall do so at their own peril,” the group said.

A coalition of northern groups had Wednesday issued a 30-day ultimatum to the Nigeria government and governors who opposed to the RUGA settlement program to reverse their decisions.

Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the group’s spokesman in a press conference, said the debate to accept or not to accept the program is already causing disaffection for herders who are of Fulani extraction.

“While we warn all state governments that stand against the implementation of the Ruga Initiative to desist and give peace a chance, we place President Buhari and the Federal Government on notice that they must completely stop this raging madness within 30-days beginning from today, Wednesday,” Suleiman said.

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