Following the uproar that greeted the plan by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to create colonies for cattle rearers in each state of the federation under what it called RUGA scheme, President Muhammadu Buhari last month announced the suspension of the programme.
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The suspension calmed frayed nerves across the country among opponents of the scheme who argued that it was a plan by the Federal Government to seize the land belonging to the indigenes to resettle cattle herders. Many people however called for total cancellation and not mere suspension believing the government would still go ahead with it. Their fears were confirmed on Sunday when the presidency urged the states to make land available for the controversial RUGA settlement saying N2.258b had already been allocated for the scheme in the 2019 budget.Herdsmen along with their cows wait for buyers at Kara Cattle Market in Lagos, Nigeria, on April 10, 2019. – Kara cattle market in Agege, Lagos is one of the largest of West Africa receiving thousands of cows weekly due to the massive consumption of meat in Lagos area. (Photo / AFP)
Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Ita Enang who disclosed the position of the government expressed surprise over the inability of some state governors to comprehend the policy saying the Federal Government has always made yearly allocations for the funding of grazing areas.
This new development has however not gone down well with critics of the scheme. Expectedly, the Ruga programme has divided the country into the North Versus the South. The states in the southern part of the country are vehemently opposed to Ruga or whatever name it is called while the states in the north are supporting it wholeheartedly. They all gave reasons for their positions.
We don’t have land for RUGA says A-Ibom govt
By Chioma Onuegbu
Akwa Ibom state government has said it does not have land for the RUGA project and therefore would not participate in the programme. The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy Mr. Charles Udoh in an interview with Saturday Vanguard in Uyo said Akwa Ibom doesn’t have need for RUGA since it has already put in place a Cattle ranching project since 2016. He disclosed that the cattle ranching project being driven by private investors from Mexico was expected to take off soon, noting that the kick off was delayed because of the general elections. “Akwa Ibom state does not have land for RUGA, we only have land for industries. Besides we have put in place a ranch project since 2016 in Uruan local government area. It is an investor driven project. The investors are from Mexico, the infrastructure needed for the project are all in place, so there is no need for RUGA.
We’ve no land for Ruga settlements or anything related — Rivers Government
By Egufe Yafugborhi
Rivers State Government has affirmed it has no land to accommodate Federal Government’s Ruga Settlements for herdsmen. The government has consequently enjoined all the people of Rivers state to report any trace or form of encroachment by Ruga settlers. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Paulinus Nsirim in a statement noted that Governor Nyesom Wike has rather prioritised land in the state for intensive commercial agriculture to create jobs. He said, “Rivers has not given any approval for siting of Ruga settlements anywhere in the state. No such approval will come from the State Government. Governor Wike will continue to defend the interest of Rivers people who have overwhelmingly rejected Cattle Colonies, Ruga Settlements and any such policy. Rivers indigenes are hereby advised to join the State Government to protect all arable lands by reporting any form of encroachment under whatever guise.”
No land has been ceded in Ekiti for Ruga —Ekiti state govt
By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ekiti State Government has said it has not received any money from the Federal Government on the execution of Rural Gracing Area (RUGA) project and has not ceded any part of Ekiti for the programme. The State Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr Muyiwa Olomilua said the “State has not received a kobo from the N2.2 billion RUGA Fund, neither has the State assigned any land, or part of the State for the supposed Federal Government funded programme. Governor Kayode Fayemi has not ceded any part of Ekiti State to the Federal Government for the execution of the RUGA project”, he said.
Bayelsa land for development, not Ruga —Gov Dickson
By Samuel Oyadongha
BAYELSA State government has said Bayelsa land is strictly for development purposes and not for Rural Grazing Area, RUGA. Governor Seriake Dickson who said that the policy of RUGA settlement was inimical to national unity and cohesion described it as provocative, divisive and unhelpful. He said that Bayelsa under his leadership would not give out any inch of its territory for the establishment of any such RUGA settlement as proposed by the Federal Government. He said, “I said it some days ago and I’m saying it again that Bayelsa will not be part of RUGA. That is a most provocative, divisive and unhelpful policy. We call for the immediate cancellation of that policy. Under me as leader of this state, Bayelsa will not have even an inch of land available for any RUGA settlement. It will not be allowed and will be challenged. People should be encouraged to go into ranching as a business and not be moving around causing problems and mayhem. That’s what we will support, not RUGA settlements. Do we have Ijaw fishermen settlements in other states?”
We’re creating modern ranches instead of RUGA—Ogun Govt .
By Daud Olatunji
Ogun state government has maintained its stance on the establishment of the controversial RUGA in the country saying it was planning to create modern ranches instead of RUGA. The Chief Press Secretary to the state governor ,Kunle Somorin said “we have said we are going to have modern ranches as it is done in all civilised places, which herdsmen can use. We are looking at the entire value chain where we will have decent abattoirs and cattle markets”
We’ve our own ranches—Ondo state govt
By Dayo Johnson
The Information and Orientation commissioner in Ondo state, Hon Donald Ojogo in his reaction said “The position of the Government of Ondo State still suffices. Development of ranches is the only effective way to stem the herders-farmers clashes. In Ondo state, the Government has said it repeatedly that the Akunnu and Auga Ranches are veritable enough to serve as antidotes. Also, it is difficult for Ondo State to know details of the Federal Government’s budget proposals because we are not part of the budgetary process beyond ours.
We don’t have land for ruga says Edo government
By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu
Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki has said the state does not have land for the controversial ruga program but would rather intensify its all encompassing agricultural policies that would take care of both food crop production and animal husbandry. Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to the governor, Crusoe Osagie said the administration would not deviate from this policy. He said; “Edo State has its plans for agricultural development which is completely independent of any external intervention, we have our schemes to develop; crop production and animal husbandry and all of these have nothing to do with RUGA so we will not supplant or exchange our existing animal production interventions with any other one so put mildly.
We have existing ranches in parts of the state which were built over 40 years ago and we are hoping that investors can look at it as private investment and begin to harness some of these resources, so we are not giving land to anybody. We have intervention for rice, we have intervention for poultry farmers, tree crop producers but all these are private ventures owned by individuals and organizations, so in the same vein, animal husbandry is private and should be owned and operated by private people. Government will only give the necessary support that will naturally be given to any business that is operating in the state.”
We’re not for Ruga —Imo state govt
By Chidi Nkwopara
Imo State Government is not favourably disclosed to allocate any piece of land for RUGA Settlement.
According to the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu, “the state government has more pressing problems than the controversial RUGA Settlement. People who are outside Imo State may not fully appreciate the level of rot the present government inherited from the immediate past Okorocha administration. The RUGA Settlement policy “is very controversial and this government cannot afford to dabble into it for whatever reason”.
RUGA is a dead case in Ebonyi—Ebonyi state govt
By Peter Okutu
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state, weekend, disclosed that the State was not interested in ranching as a government but would support any Ebonyi person who wishes to expand his livestock business using National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP. Umahi who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Emma Uzor added that “This is our own way of helping our people who are already in livestock business to grow. It’s not only available for cattle, it involves other livestock rearing business. Ranching is a private business and not government owned.
The only linkage with Government is in the area of accessing grants from FG through the NLTP by individual members who may wish to go into ranching just like it was done by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Anchor Borrower schemes. FG did this intervention in rice farming and Ebonyi State benefited largely as one of the pilot states and today we rank first in rice production in the entire country and it will be our hope if our people avail themselves of the opportunity presented by NLTP to access funds from CBN to go into large scale livestock business and not Ruga because Ruga is never part of the recommendations of the NEC sub Technical Committee on Farmers/Herders crisis under the chairmanship of Gov David Umahi of Ebonyi State. Ruga is a dead case as far as Ebonyi State is concerned. We don’t want to be talking about Ruga because it’s not going to work in our state.”
We’ve no land for
Ruga—Delta state govt
By Festus Ahon
The Delta State Government has not shifted ground on its position on RUGA, insisting that it has no land for the programme. Noting that the state is in dire need of land for agriculture and other industrial use, the state government declared that the people of the state were also not disposed to RUGA programme. A top government official who pleaded anonymity, maintained that cattle rearing was a personal business and those who want to be involved should therefore seek the best way to do it without asking for free land from government.
We’ve no land for RUGA —South East Govts
By Anayo Okoli & Chinonso Alozie.
The South East Governors have also taken a collective stand that none of the states in the zone has land for RUGA. At their recent meeting in Enugu they made it categorically clear that they have no land for RUGA in any part of zone. They suggested that they could go into business agreement with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN to be supplying them grasses as they have grasses but not to allocate any land for the purpose of RUGA. They argued that the region does not have enough land for its farming and other activities, let alone the one to give out for RUGA.
We’re shocked by the huge fund budgeted by the FG – Benue State Govt
By Peter Duru
Benue state government expressed shock at the huge sum of over N2.2billion budgeted by the federal government to prosecute the Ruga settlement project insisting that Benue would not be part of the plan.
Chief Press Secretary to the state Governor, Mr. Terver Akase, in a statement said that the federal government was being economical with the truth as regards its real intentions. According to the statement, “we were shocked to hear about the huge amount allocated in the 2019 budget for Ruga settlements and we wonder why the federal government is not telling Nigerians the truth regarding its intentions. Benue has already taken a firm stand against Ruga in whatever form it is introduced and there is no going back. We have made it clear that there is no land for Ruga in Benue state. Our position in Benue is that there is land only for ranches as prescribed by the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017. So anything outside that will not be accepted in Benue.
Our own RUGA is called ranching —Plateau govt
By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Plateau State is ready to be part of RUGA but prefers to call the policy, ‘ranching’ while a total of N250million had been budgeted for the ranching in the State’s 2019 budget. And to prepare the people’s mind for its implementation, the Director-General, Plateau Peace Building Agency, Joseph Lengmang had said last week that the State had opted for “ranching pilot scheme” in keying into the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government. According to him, “Based on our own peculiarities, we have found ranching to be most suitable but even at that, it is just a pilot scheme and that is why government is using an existing Grazing Reserve – a Federal gazetted land in Kanam and Wase Local Government Areas for the pilot project.” The State Focal Person, Social Investment Program, Dr. Sumaye Hamza also told Saturday Vanguard that “implementation has not commenced, so there is no release of funds yet, we are still at the sensitization level because people have not really understood it up till this moment. So you cannot just start implementing until the people understand what the whole thing is all about”.
We’re yet to decide—Osun state govt
The Supervisor in charge of Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr Adelani Baderinwa disclosed that the issue of providing land for grazing was not new in the Western region of the country, saying there were ranches across the region during the administration of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
“This is not new in the Southwest, whatever name it is called now, I am aware the region inherited ranches from the colonial government and late Obafemi Awolowo provided more as the Premier of the region and all of these still abound in the region. We want to be part of the programmes of the federal government if it is not bringing discomfort to our people in all ramifications. We want to be part of programmes that could generate more money for the people, enhance communal peace among the populace, put food on the table of families and guarantee their safety. Anything short of that, we cannot be party to it”, he said. He, however added that the state government was yet to decide on the matter for now.
Our Ranching Model takes precedence over RUGA — Taraba Govt
By Femi Bolaji
Taraba state government has restated that its ranching model which was proposed in the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching Law will take precedence over the RUGA settlement proposed by the Federal Government. Senior Special Assistant to Governor Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan-Abu said “the budget of the sum had already been done before public outcry led to the suspension of the RUGA programme. But our position as government of Taraba state remains the same that we have no provision of land for RUGA.”
Katsina govt allocates 5,300 hectares of land for cattle colony
By Bashir Bello
Katsina State Government says it has allocated 5,300 hectares of land for the establishment of a cattle colony. The government said the land allocation was part of its proactive measures to prevent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state. The cattle colony will be established in Gurbin-Baure, Jibiya Local Government Area of the state.
We’re ready for RUGA—Bauchi govt
By Charles Agwam
Bauchi State government has reaffirmed its readiness to be part of RUGA programme. An official of the state government assured that with the new directive from the presidency, the governor, as soon as he returns from pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia will make everything available to kick start the programme in Bauchi. “The Governor is now in Saudi Arabia for Hajj. There’s enough land in the State for the programme. We keyed into the programme because it has the potential to end the farmer/header conflicts and also create jobs for our teeming youths who are unemployed. We are waiting for the governor’s return to provide everything that is necessary for the programme to take off in the State,” he said
Ruga was misunderstood—Gov Bagudu
By Kabir DanKatsina
Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, said his administration will key into the RUGA programme by the Federal Government. He however lamented that initial suspension of the programme by the federal government was caused by negative criticism by those he referred as unpatriotic citizens.
He said, “those who condemned the programme misunderstood the President, because right from time immemorial there have been Ruga settlements but they were scattered around the communities. Ruga is a policy to provide shelter for the people through the construction of houses, provision of schools and clinics and supply of good drinking water for both animals and nomads so as to stop Fulani from moving from one place to another.
Borno will key into RUGA scheme —Gov Zulum
By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno state has said that the state government will key into the Rural Grazing Area, RUGA, to reduce or eliminate possibility of farmers/herders clash in the state.
Governor Umara who disclosed this in an interview at the Agricultural Resource Team Farm in Konduga while responding to RUGA issue said “Borno state government will key into the Federal Government’s RUGA scheme with a view to provide our herdsmen land to graze. I think there is a misconception by some communities on the RUGA scheme. The scheme is to provide a place where farmers and herders will live, graze and farm together peacefully and thereby reduce or totally eliminate clashes. We have identified six different locations which we considered safe for the pilot scheme in the state. The RUGA scheme is as old as history, it is not a new thing, I don’t know why some people are politicizing it. We are going to provide them with security and other necessary facilities. RUGA settlement will greatly reduce farmers, herders clash”.
We’re part of the RUGA scheme —Adamawa state govt.
By Umar Yusuf
Adamawa state government has expressed its support for the Ruga programme saying being the highest producer of livestock in the country it has always taken the issue of livestock development with the seriousness it deserves. According to a state government official, a technical committee has been set up to handle the project. The official, who would not want his name in print added that the technical committee has since swung into action and that as soon as the state executive council is constituted and commissioners are assigned to the ministries, the report will be presented to them for deliberation before forwarding the same to the state executive council for consideration and approval.
He added that “RUGA will further increase our animal production and husbandry and curtail cases of herders/ farmers clashes”
Kano sets up committee
By Abdulmumin Murtala, Kano
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje while declaring support for the scheme said the state government had established a 13-man committee for the implementation of the policy in the state noting that the establishment of the Ruga settlement will put an end to the persistent wandering of herdsmen and also help expand them economically. “The committee is expected to identify suitable areas within the state for the establishment of Ruga settlement and also identify market for the products that may come out as well as other things that may be required in making Ruga more comfortable which include provision of animal clinics, health care facilities, schools among other social services,” the governor said.
Concerning the funding of the project, Ganduje also said “this project will be jointly financed by the state government and the Islamic Development Bank. The bank will provide a substantial part of the funding, while the state government will provide the rest. The allocation from the federal government will further provide additional funding for the successful implementation of the Ruga settlement project in the state. Ganduje expressed confidence that the scheme would curb the persistent herdsmen/farmers clashes which often led to loss of lives and property.