The Federal Government has shelved the controversial Rural Grazing Area, RUGA, settlements for herdsmen across the nation.
The suspension comes against the widespread criticism of the modalities for implementing the scheme. A few state governors were lukewarm in embracing the idea.
The suspension of RUGA was announced shortly after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo held a meeting with representatives of governors from the six geo-political zones in the presidential villa. Present were Governors of Ebonyi, Dave Umahi, Plateau, Simon Lalong, Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu and the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, Martins Nasir.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu had recently said that Ruga settlements across the 36 states of the federation was aimed at bringing lasting solutions to the farmers/herders clashes and also to create jobs.
Governor Umah addressed pressmen. “We the NEC committee on farmers/ herders crisis under the chairmanship of HE Mr. Vice President met today (Wednesday) to deliberate on the approved programme of National Economic Council (NEC) and Federal Government, tagged, the National Livestock Transformation Programme.
“We are aware today that Mr. President has suspended the implementation of Ruga programme, initiated and being implemented by the Federal ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, because it is not consistent with the NEC and Federal Government approved National Livestock Transformation plan which has programmes of rehabilitation of displaced IDPs, resulting from the crisis and also development of ranches in any willing state of the Federation. The word is willing state of the federation.
“The National Livestock Transformation plan, its beauty is that what NEC and FG approved is a voluntary programme to all the 36 states who may like to participate. So, it is not compulsory, it is for any state that is willing, will key into the programme.
“Any state that is interested in this programme is required to bring up a development plan that is keyed towards the implementation in line with our own programme here that is unique to his state based on the challenges that he has in respect of the crisis. That’s the decision of this committee,” said Chief Umahi.