For clear understanding of the issues involved we must first delve into definitions
According to a definition from dictionary.com, Ranching is
“an establishment maintained for raising livestock under range conditions.”
Wikipedia is more in dept:
ranch is an area of land, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of
ranching , the practice of raising grazing
livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. The word most often applies to livestock-raising operations in Mexico, Africa, the Western United States and Western Canada, though there are ranches in other areas. People who own or operate a ranch are called ranchers , cattlemen , or stock growers . Ranching is also a method used to raise less common livestock such as elk,
American bison or even ostrich , emu , and
Ranches generally consist of large areas, but may be of nearly any size. In the western United States, many ranches are a combination of privately owned land supplemented by grazing leases on land under the control of the federal
Bureau of Land Management or the United States Forest Service . If the ranch includes
arable or irrigated land, the ranch may also engage in a limited amount of farming , raising crops for feeding the animals, such as hay and feed grains.
Ranches that cater exclusively to tourists are called guest ranches or, colloquially , ” dude ranches.” Most working ranches do not cater to guests, though they may allow private hunters or
outfitters onto their property to hunt native wildlife. However, in recent years, a few struggling smaller operations have added some dude ranch features, such as horseback rides, cattle drives or guided hunting, in an attempt to bring in additional income. Ranching is part of the iconography of the ” Wild West ” as seen in
Western movies and rodeos
Further research on Fulani people on wikipedia shows that
Settled Fulani live in villages, towns and cities permanently and have given up nomadic life completely, in favor of an urban one. These processes of settlement, concentration and military conquest led to the existence of organized and long Established communities of Fulani, varying in size from small villages to towns. Today, some major Fulani towns include:
Labé , Pita , Mamou and Dalaba in Guinea, Kaedi ,
Matam and Podor in Senegal and Mauritania,
Bandiagara , Mopti , Dori , Gorom-Gorom and Djibo in Mali and Burkina Faso, on the bend of the Niger, and Birnin Kebbi, Gombe , Yola , Digil ,
Jalingo , Mayo Belwa, Mubi , Maroua ,
Ngaoundere , Girei and Garoua in the countries of Cameroon and Nigeria, in most of these communities, the Fulani are usually perceived as a ruling class .
How did we go from ranches to rugga which both mean the same thing in English and Fulani?
Personally i believe the Federal Government should not dabble into matters that can be handled by states and local Governments because it has enough on its plate with issues like security and defense, creating jobs for our youths through private sector partnership,and formulating policies that will promote economic growth.
The farmer herders conflict is a result of long neglect of simple responsibilities allowed to fester because politics is allowed to determine purely economic issues. Like every business venture livestock farming is not a Government responsibility but special grants can be provided to boost activities because of their economic contribution to GDP.
If Government can intervene in supporting Poultry owners, fish farming and crop production through programs like the central bank anchor borrowers scheme and other programs by former governments like the Cassava initiative by the Goodluck Jonathan and Obasanjo administration, then i see nothing wrong in cattle herders being supported like above stated examples.
What baffled me is why the federal government decided to rename ranches as rugga which is a Fulani word. Consultations and Selling the idea of ranching was ongoing and was reaching some form of acceptance from major stakeholders before we changed the name to Rugga settlement. I believe this singular act has led to the needless controversy overheating the polity with its attendant consequences. The federal Govt should return to status quo ante on ranching by allowing interested states and LGAs interested in ranching to continue to process and provide support where necessary through programs like the Anchor borrowers scheme for farmers which can be expanded to include herders.