Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong, says former President Goodluck Jonathan budgeted N10 billion for the establishment of Ruga settlements.
Speaking at the presidential villa in Abuja on Monday, July 1, 2019, Lalong noted that had Jonathan implemented the policy, Nigeria would not be tackling insecurity at a high level.
“The fact that federal government is bringing 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,” he said.
”If he had done that at that time, we would not be fighting insecurity between herders and farmers today.
Lalong said said that states were not being coerced to be part of the Ruga programme, adding that those on the project “actually applied to be part of it”.
He added that each state adopted the name it chose to call the programme, explaining that the name Ruga is not general.
Lalong, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the herdsmen/farmers committee, headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, had agreed that the only solution that can address some of the security issues between herdsmen and farmers is the ranching policy.
The Plateau state governor described the the controversy trailing it as needless.
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“I think the Ruga thing should not be anything that should bring controversy with the level of sensitisation we’ve already made,” he said.
“I am a member of the food security committee. I am a member of the herdsmen/farmers committee. 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. You remember that one time we 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 it’s the same thing that we are talking about. But I think when they mentioned 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.”
Lalong maintained that President Buhari had not imposed the Ruga settlement programme on any state as widely claimed.