By Oge Udegbunam
President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the controversial Ruga programme, the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi announced on Wednesday.
Mr Umahi made the announcement Wednesday after a meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) committee on farmers/herders crisis. The meeting held at the State House, Abuja.
“We are aware that 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 (NLTP) which has programmes of rehabilitation of displaced IDPs, resulting from the crisis and also development of ranches in any willing state of the federation,” Mr Umahi said.
The NEC is headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo and had developed the NLTP as a long-term solution to the perennial herdsmen and farmers crisis.
The Ruga is a programmed recently announced by the federal government to enable willing states to contribute large areas of land to the federal government for construction of animal husbandry settlements.
The presidency had said 12 states have indicated willingness to be part of the programme.
The Ruga programme has, however, been criticised by many Nigerians with many state governors opposing it.
Speaking on their meeting on Wednesday, Mr Umahi said, “We the NEC committee on farmers/ herders crisis under the chairmanship of His Excellency Mr Vice President met today to deliberate on the approved programme of National Economic Council (NEC) and Federal Government, tagged, ‘the National Livestock Transformation Programme’
“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,” the governor said.