RUGA Rumble: Only unilateral implementation suspended, not scheme – Memo

 
Sun Jul 7th, 2019 - Abuja (FCT)
 

…FG to raise a committee to ‘fast-track’ policy
…ACF backs northern youth groups

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Ben Agande & Denis Agbo

CONTRARY to the impression that President Muhammadu Buhari suspended the controversial RUGA Model Settlement Project, Sunday Vanguard has learned that only unilateral implementation may have been put on hold.

Ruga

The Federal Government appears dissatisfied with the unilateral implementation of the programme by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and not the programme itself.

In fact, the government plans to inaugurate an Implementation Committee of the National Livestock Transformation Programme, comprising representatives from National Economic Council, NEC, National Food Security Council, Federal Executive Council, FEC, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, to fast track the project.

Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, in a memo with reference number, SH/COS/05/A/2393, dated July 2, conveyed the stand of government to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja.

The memo read in part: “Mr President has directed the immediate suspension of the current unilateral implementation of the Ruga Model Settlement Programme by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as it is not in accordance with the designs approved by NEC, NFSC, and FEC.”

The memo disclosed that an Implementation Committee of NEC, NFSC, and FEC “will be inaugurated in due course to oversee the delivery of the project.”

It was copied to the Vice President, Chairman, Governors Forum and other officials.

Federal Government had, last Thursday, announced that the herdsmen settlements project had been suspended.

The announcement followed the outrage generated especially in the Southern part of the country where it was generally believed that the scheme was a ploy to give their land to Fulani herdsmen.

The RUGA scheme has 12 pilot states in the North but Benue and Taraba listed among them opted out.

The controversy took a twist last week when some northern youths gave southern governors a 30-day ultimatum to accept the policy.

Concern

The youths received the backing of the Area Consultative Forum (ACF), yesterday when the ACF said it shared “the concern of the Coalition of the Northern Groups on the plight of genuine herdsmen in pursuit of their livelihood in some parts of the country”.

In a statement issued in Kaduna on the suspension of Ruga settlements in the country, the forum, however, called for restraint in taking actions that may be inimical to peace and stability.

The ACF, in the statement signed by Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, the Publicity Secretary, said: “Now that the Federal Government has put on hold the Ruga Settlement program, that it was inconsistent with the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) approved by the National Economic Council and moreover, the program was designed as voluntary for willing state governments, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) therefore urges all concerned to exercise restraint in taking actions that may be inimical to peace and stability in our polity.

“ACF also shares the concern of the Coalition of the Northern Groups on the plight of genuine herdsmen in pursuit of their livelihood in some parts of the country. ACF, therefore, appeals to government to institute measures that would ameliorate the suffering of not only herders but all those involved in the value chain of livestock production”.

Also read: RUGA: Plateau people chide Lalong for supporting anti-people policy

Arrest call

Meanwhile, a Niger Delta group, Urhobo Liberation Force, ULF, yesterday, asked the Federal Government to arrest the northern youths who gave a 30-day-ultimatum to implement the Ruga programme.

Leaders of the group, self styled ‘General’ Orubu Ekpe, GOC, Operations and ‘General’ Mike Agbalele, GOC, Defence , in a statement, said: “The attention of the Niger Delta youths has been drawn to a publication by some Northern youths, who publicly threatened the peace we enjoy currently in Nigeria.

“ By their actions, it is clear that we must go back to where we were before 1914. Their action is a pointer to the fact that the killing perpetrated by herders is an agenda to forcefully take the land belonging to the South.

“It is a mission against the South. They want to use him to actualise this plan so that the oil and gas in the Niger Delta could become their own.

“We, in the Niger Delta are ready. We are tired of this marriage.

If youths of southern Nigeria made such statements, the Nigerian government would call them names. The northern youths must apologise to our governors and leaders because Ruga cannot work

“Cattle-rearing is a private business. You have to acquire land to do your business Southerners in the north are not given land freely. The federal government never spends public fund on the Igbo man who sells automobile spare parts in the north.

“ Buhari must arrest the so-called northern youths and prosecute them for treason

“What Nnamdi Kanu did was not up to what these northern youths have done. If nothing is done, the southern youths of Nigeria may not wait until the 30 days to start defending our territory against any aggression.

“We, in the Niger Delta shall stop the flow of oil. We are aware of different plans of the north. The Water Bill has found its way to the National Assembly so that no state can be called oil-producing state.

“Niger Delta youths must all rise now. Niger Delta is the major target. Our governors and political leaders must arise.

“The federal government has refused to condemn that public threat by the northern youths. The government is waiting until the 30-day ultimatum elapses.’’

Also read: Benue at boiling point over FG’s construction of Fulani settlements

We’ll mobilise for defence—Igbo Congress

Also, yesterday, World Igbo Congress, WIC, a platform for all Igbo in the diaspora has said that plans have been concluded to mobilise resources worldwide for the formation of an indigenous militia for self-defence.

A statement by its Chairman, Prof Anthony Ejiofor, said the move for an Igbo militia is backed by indigenous native laws.

Ejiofor said the development became necessary following the 30-day ultimatum issued by the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups for the implementation of Ruga settlements for herdsmen.

He said: “We call on the Federal government of Nigeria to summarily arrest and prosecute Mr Abdul Aseez Suleiman and his group for incitement and for a threat to conduct domestic terrorism against citizens of Nigeria failing which the Igbo of Southern Nigeria will use our own methods to carry out justice and defend our own people.

“We in the diaspora have long observed that the current unitary structure foisted on the people by successive military governments, is unsustainable. It has become an urgent imperative to dismantle this structure.’’

Vanguard

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source: Vanguard