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FG Unveils Resettlement Programme To End Farmer-Herder Clashes

Resettlement

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, said it would commence the Pulaku Initiative, a large-scale resettlement programme to address the root causes of incessant clashes between farmers and herders in various flashpoints nationwide.

Pulaku, also called the “Fulani code of conduct,” is an integral cultural and ethical value system specific to the Fulani.

The farmer-herder crisis, more pronounced in the North-Central, has lingered for over two decades, claiming over 60,000 lives since 2001.

The programme will initially focus on seven states disproportionately affected by farmers-herders conflicts.

They are “Sokoto, Kebbi, Benue, Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, and Kaduna states,” a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the Vice President, Stanley Nkwocha, said on Tuesday.

The statement was titled ‘Pulaku Initiative set for kick-off as VP Shettima inaugurates implementation committee.’

Tuesday’s announcement comes eight months after Vice President Kashim Shettima announced plans by the President Bola Tinubu administration to “unveil an initiative to address insurgency and poverty, among other challenges confronting Nigerians, especially those living in the northern region.”

While on condolence visits to the families of Galadanci and Mangal in Kano and Katsina, respectively, on July 16, 2023, Shettima told journalists that military offensives alone could not sustainably resolve the security crisis in Nigeria’s North-West.

“Unless we want to engage in an endless war of attrition, there cannot be a military solution to the crisis in the northwest. There has to be a kinetic and non-kinetic solution,” he stated.

About eight months later, the VP inaugurated a steering committee to coordinate the implementation of the initiative.

Speaking at the inauguration of the implementation committee at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday, the VP explained, “The selection of these states is a deliberate and strategic approach. The aim is to generate ripple effects that will not only revitalise communities but also lay the groundwork for a more inclusive and cohesive Nigeria.”

He said the Federal Government would revitalise conflict-torn communities by constructing residences, roads, schools and essential facilities.

Therefore, the VP maintained that the project must be seen as an emergency to tackle a challenge that had threatened the fabric of Nigeria.

“It serves as a testament to the fulfilment of the promises made by His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“The aim is to create an environment where the prosperity of our people is not just a distant dream but a tangible and achievable reality.

“This comprehensive approach reflects our dedication to fostering sustainable development and improving the lives of all citizens,” Shettima said.

He assured citizens that the initiative would address “a challenge that has persisted across various generations and demands our collective resolve, our optimum sense of justice, and unconditional compassion.”

“This is not merely a response; it is a call to action. We are here because each of our programmes or policies will falter unless we get to the root of the dysfunctions we have inherited,” he added.

He described the Pulaku resettlement as “a national commitment to confront a threat that has fuelled distrust and conflicts within communities and across the boundaries of our federation.

“This non-kinetic solution is not designed to compensate any particular group or region. Therefore, we must cast aside any notion of divisive regionalism and see the Pulaku initiative for what it truly is—a practical response to a shared challenge.”

The Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani, who spoke to journalists afterwards, announced the launch date saying, “This programme will certainly start in the next two weeks from the meeting. Houses will be built. Schools will be built. Hospitals will be built and there will be support for those affected by insecurity.”

On his part, the Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, told State House Correspondents that he expected tactical support for farmers in his state alongside reducing farmers-herders clashes.

He said, “Our farmers would be very highly assisted. This is one way of assuring them of the security apparatus that the Federal Government is putting in place.

“We have relative peace now, but remember that this insecurity is onion-layered. But if we move into full investment in agriculture, as this programme is intended to do, that’s going to curtail the insecurity we’ve been experiencing. Those who have been displaced are also going to have their own abode.”

The committee, chaired by the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, also has representatives of governors of the benefiting states as members.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari; representatives of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Director General of the Bureau of Public Procurement, BUA Group, Dangote Group and the Director General of NEMA are also members of the committee.