Following mass critiisms against the RUGA Settlement Project, President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the project pending further notice.
RUGA settlement scheme, according to presidency, was designed to stem the herdsmen/farmers clashes across the country. But many states and members of the public had misconstrued it as another form of cattle colony by the federal government.
Some members of the public and civil society groups had also planned mass action in Abuja against the scheme, tomorrow, Friday, 5th July, 2019.
The source said, after consultations with stakeholders, Buhari resolved to put away the idea for a thorough review and well-accepted approach to the menace constituted to national security by the constant clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
Rivers State Government has stated that it will not participate in the Federal Government’s Ruga Settlements for herdsmen.
The Rivers State Government in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Paulinus Nsirim noted that the state has no land for the implementation of such a policy.
It noted that second term of His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Governor Wike has prioritised commercial agriculture, hence all available arable land in the state will be needed to drive commercial agriculture across the state to create employment for Rivers youths.
The State Government emphasised that it has not given any approval for the siting of Ruga settlements anywhere in Rivers State. It added that no such approval will come from the Rivers State Government for the Ruga settlements.
The Statement reiterated that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike will continue to defend the interest of Rivers people, who have overwhelmingly rejected Cattle Colonies, Ruga Settlements and any such policy.
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, said the suspension of the Ruga settlement plan was because of its lack of consistency..
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, Governor Umahi said, “the suspension is owing to lack of consistency with the NEC and FG approved national livestock transformation plan, which has programme of rehabilitation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) resulting from the crisis and development of ranching in any willing state.
“The NEC says it is not compulsory and any state willing is required to put up a development plan towards the implementation in line with the NEC program based on the challenges inherent there.”.
Also, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, commended President Muhammad Buhari for heeding the call of the people to suspend the Ruga settlement plan.
Ortom, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary Terver Akase, described the suspension of Ruga settlements plan by the Federal Government as “victory for all peace loving Nigerians.”
The governor stated that the rejection of the Ruga settlement model was not personal but rather a struggle by Nigerians against “impunity and injustice.”
The governor said the decision to suspend the Ruga programme shows that President Buhari has heard the voices of majority of Nigerians on the matter.
“He states that truth has prevailed on the Ruga issue, citing the Bible book of John 8: 32, which says ‘You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
“Governor Ortom urges the Federal Government to take a step further to encourage pastoralists and other livestock owners to embrace ranching as the best model of animal husbandry,” parts of the statement read.