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We’re engaging in Ranch project not RUGA, Enugu govt clarifies

He added that consequently, all cattle movement transported from the northern part of the country would stop at the ranch for proper inspection and revenue build-up.

Enugu State Governor, Dr Peter Mbah. [Twitter:@DanNwomeh]

The clarification is contained in a statement by the State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Aka Eze Aka, on Sunday in Enugu.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that RUGA is a term that means, cow settlement while Ranch is a large farm, where cattle or other animals are bred.

NAN recalls that controversy trailed plans by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, to establish “RUGA Settlement” nationwide.

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RUGA, which seeks to settle migrant pastoral families, is a rural settlement in which animal farmers, not just cattle herders, will be settled in an organised place with the provision of necessary and adequate basic amenities.

According to the commissioner, the attention of the state has been drawn to insinuations and utter misrepresentation by some individuals of the good initiative of the government.

“The government intends to use the ranch to stem the tide of kidnapping and clashes between the state’s border people and the herders.

“The Enugu state government is not engaging in the RUGA project in any part of the state and shall not do so. The ranch is not Ruga.”

The commissioner stressed that it had become necessary to explain matters regarding the design of ranching, a modern method all over the world, to rear cattle.

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“The recent viral messages and outcry of a few persons against what they construed as government intention to take over a portion of land in Uzo-Uwani Council Areas and give out to herders in the guise of RUGA is misguided.

“This is but the unfortunate machination of those who wished to make a mountain out of molehill because of political reasons.

“The intention of government is clear on the matter. Armed bandits and kidnappers in the name of herders have long taken advantage of our forests and farmlands to commit heinous crimes, abduction, rape and killings.

“The government of Enugu state has resolved to put a stop to these and introduce ranching, the most modern way of rearing cattle,” Aka said.

He recalled that one of the outcomes of the attempts to introduce Ruga establishments in Nigeria was the suggestion to establish controlled ranching as practised the world over.

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“When established, no cattle herder or dealer shall be allowed to roam non-designated areas with their animals for grazing.

“The state government, therefore, is resolved to strictly implement the laws against open grazing in any part of the state.

“As a result, specific areas designated for grazing shall be created, managed, and held in trust by the government.

“It is the idea of government to build a modern ‘abattoir’ around each ranch from where all processing of meat and others are to take place before taken to other parts of the state,” he said.

He added that consequently, all cattle movement transported from the northern part of the country would stop at the ranch for proper inspection and revenue build-up.

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“The government cannot allow fabulists and political manipulators to take advantage of social media to work the people to frenzy against its programmes and projects.

” Our people are called upon to closely understand the good intentions of government and know that Ranch is not RUGA,” he stressed.

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