By Peter Duru
Makurdi—Benue State tribal leaders, yesterday, issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to cancel the proposed construction of Ruga settlement for herdsmen or the people of Benue at home and abroad would embark on civil disobedience to drive home their demand.
This was contained in the communiqué issued at the end of an emergency meeting of Mdzough U Tiv, MUT; Ochitoha K’ Idoma, OKI, and Omni Ny’ Igede, ONI, in Makurdi signed by Chief Edward Ujege, President-General of MUT; Amali Amali, National President of OKI, and Ben Okpa, President-General of ONI.
Part of the communique read: “We welcome the idea of President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of the RUGA settlement programme, as he has begun to listen to the cries of the people. We, however, call on the president to cancel the ill-conceived programme as it is anti-democratic, anti-people, tribalistic and fraught with introduction of the possibility of social conflict and disharmony in the country that could lead to a major crisis.
“Due to the gravity of the situation, we are, therefore, giving 14 days ultimatum to the Federal Government to outrightly cancel the RUGA project as mere suspension is not enough.
“However, if the wishes of the majority of Nigerians are ignored, we shall mobilise Nigerians and particularly Benue State people home and abroad to commence civil disobedience.
“In the meantime we immediately call on the youth, women and people of Benue State to embark on civil disobedience on any project initiated in the name of RUGA or similar projects in Benue State.
“The Benue State government has the mandate to save us from elimination and unconstitutional harassment, maltreatment and maladministration from the Federal Government.
“The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, and our elected representatives should continue to stand firm and do everything within the ambit of the constitution to protect us.”
“Lastly, the Mdzough U Tiv, Ochitoha K’ Idoma and Omni Ny’ Igede want to publicly appreciate the support and sympathy extended to us by the various socio-cultural groups in the middle Belt and all over the country during this difficult time when it seems the Federal Government, acting the script of Miyetti Allah, have visited untold hardship on our people.”