Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong, on Monday clarified the status of controversial ‘Ruga’ settlements saying that the Ruga is the same as the ranching that was approved by the National Economic Council (NEC).
The NEC had raised a National Food Security committee chaired by Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, which approved the National Livestock Transformation Plan as part of efforts to curb incessant clashes between herders and farmers across the country.
Lalong stated this while fielding questions from State House Correspondents, after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Lalong said the dusts being raised over the issue was unnecessary as the all governors at NEC agreed on the policy of ranching and the furore was just about the particular name been given to the policy.
The Governor who revealed that he was a member of the committee that worked on the issue, the funding was initiated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who chaired the Committee
“The fact is that federal government is bring the subsidy was a request from the committee chaired by Mr.Vice President. Goodluck Jonathan did it and he budgeted about N10 billion but we didn’t see the money. If he has done that at that time, we would not be fighting insecurity between herders and farmers today.
Lalong stated as a member of the food security committee, he headed the herdsmen/farmers sub committee, adding that “we’ve gone a long way on this issue and we’ve said that the only solution that can address some of these insecurity issues between herdsmen and farmers is the ranching policy.
The Governor added that donor agencies are coming from all over world to support the programme, stressing that “it is not a federal government project, the World Bank in involved, the African Development Bank is involved.
“They said if you have land for pilot scheme they can assist, and donor agencies are coming from all over, it is not a federal government project, the world bank is involved, the African Development Bank is involved. So if you have a scheme like this that can take poverty , bring revenue and also address insecurity, you will need to go into it but with due consultation from your state.
“You remember that one time we have gone far when some people called it colony and called it this and that, and it created controversy.
“Again, we have gone far under the leadership of Mr. Vice-President and then we are hearing other terms, what they are talking about is the same thing that we are talking about.
“But I think when they mention Ruga, it may be particular to a particular tribe but what we are doing is all encompassing, it’s for the benefit of Nigeria.
“I have said particularly in my state that animal husbandry, livestock rearing is not a prerogative of one tribe, everybody must get involved in it and that is what we have done in our state when we registered for it.
“We said we are going to put these structures to enable us to encourage youth, train youth. Right now we are training Permanent Secretaries, retired civil servants who would also get involved in it so that we can address some of the insecurity that we have in the nation.
“So, when somebody mentioned another word, people would not wait to question and find out who and who are bringing those words, that is just the simple fact.
“Mr. President has not imposed that on any states, it is voluntary. So some of the States applied and we are at the level of the pilot scheme and some mischief makers would start bringing terms to cause confusion in the country.
“I am a member of the committee, by the time we addressed that issue some people said yes we would prefer to do open grazing in our state, some said we would prefer to do ranching in our state and some said in our state we would call it Ruga model. So different states with their different approaches, but Ruga term is not general to everybody. In my state we call it livestock ‘something’. It’s not Ruga and we have explained it to people.”
We did a lot of sensitization, in my state it took me three months to do sensitization and we all agreed that we should bring this concept to empower people. It is not meant to empower one tribe it is for everybody and that would address the issue of insecurity because we don’t want people moving from one place to another looking for grasses.”