The Midwest Movement, the pan-Edo/Delta group with members drawn from ethnic nationalities of the old Midwestern Region, on Monday, restated its opposition to the establishment of Ruga settlements in the area.
The group’s rejection of the settlement is contained in a statement signed by its coordinator, Dr Pedro Obaseki.
The group had earlier in June raised the alarm over what it described as “a renewed plot by the Federal Government to forcefully or tacitly annex swaths of lands belonging to various ethnic nationalities in states across Nigeria in a bid to settle Fulani herders in colonies to be known as RUGA settlements.”
In its latest statement issued on Monday, The Midwest Movement, said, “We herein reiterate our earlier stand that The Midwest Movement totally and unequivocally rejects this brazen 21st century colonisation in its entirety!
“The Midwest Movement wishes to state unequivocally as follows that the proposed Ruga settlements, which is to resettle nomadic Fulani herdsmen in states across the federation, is a neo-colonial initiative of the Federal Government;
“That the Federal Government is not taking into consideration the peculiar nature of the places it wants to settle people into; who are not indigenous to those places;
“That though all Nigerians have the right to move or co-habit in any part of the country, the Federal Government cannot legislate that thousands of hectares of indigenous land can be given away to nomadic herdsmen of a particular tribe across the nation to the detriment of the indigenous owners of such land.”
It also described the proposed settlements as a deliberate attempt to alter the demography of the country to the detriment of the indigenous peoples.
He called on the governments of the Midwestern region states of Edo and Delta to reject any proposal to cede land for the settlements.