By Chijioke Okoronkwo
President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the `Ruga Settlement’ Programme initiated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in preference for the National Economic Council (NEC)’s National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents after a meeting of the NEC Committee of Farmers/Herders Crisis Chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
`Ruga Settlement’ is a rural settlement in which animal farmers/herders stay in an designated place provided with basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets among others.
However, the initiative has elicited nationwide controversy.
Umahi said that the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) would be all inclusive, adding that it was for states that were willing to key into the programme.
“We, the NEC Committee on Farmers/Herders Crisis under the Chairmanship of the Vice President, met today to deliberate on the approved programme of the NEC and Federal Government tagged, NLTP.
“We are aware that the president has suspended the implementation of `Ruga’ Programme initiated and being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“This is because it is not consistent with the NEC and Federal Government’s approved NLTP.
“NLTP has programmes of rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) resulting from the crisis and also development of ranching in any willing state of the federation; the word is willing state of the federation.
“Its beauty is that what NEC and the Federal Government approved is a voluntary programme to all the 36 states which may like to participate.
“So, it is not compulsory; it is for any state that is willing, will key into the programme,’’ he said.
The governor said that any state interested in the programme was required to bring up a development plan that was keyed towards the implementation in line with the Federal Government’s own programme.
According to Umahi, each willing state is expected to come up with a plan unique to it based on the challenges that it has in respect of the farmers/herders crisis.
Present at the meeting were governors of Kebbi and Plateau States, the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Secretary of the Technical Sub-Committee of Farmers/Herders Crisis.