So far, 12 states of the federation have applied for the takeoff of RUGA settlement program, by making lands available for the program.
This was revealed on Sunday by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, in a post on his verified Twitter handle.
Garba Shehu said that contrary to popular belief, RUGA pastoral program was meant to settle herders/farmers’ clashes that had claimed many lives.
Furthermore, there is no compulsion that States must make lands available for the program, even though officially it has been gazetted that the Federal Government has acquired lands in all the states.
“Stripped of the politics and howling that has attended the recent comments, there is no government plan to seize land, colonize territory or impose Ruga on any part of the federation. Government has made it clear time and again that the programme is voluntary.
“Unfortunately, some state governments that have not signified interest in the scheme and, therefore, are not on the invitation list have been misleading people that the Federal Government is embarking on a scheme to take away their lands.
“Mostly, these are state leaders that have no explanation to offer their people for continued non-payment of workers salaries.
“It is true that government at the centre has gazetted lands in all states of the federation but because the idea is not to force this programme on anyone, the government has limited the take-off to the dozen states with valid requests.”
The program, according to Shehu, is not meant to serve the interests of Fulani cattle rearers alone but also it will benefit anyone involved in animal husbandry.
Also, there are enormous benefits of the scheme, Garba Shehu remarked.
See his notes:
” ‘Ruga Settlement’ that seeks to settle migrant pastoral families simply means rural settlement in which animal farmers, not just cattle herders, will be settled in an organized place with provision of necessary and adequate basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets and manufacturing entities that will process and add value to meats and animal products.”
Likewise, Shehu hinted that the scheme would help to create jobs, boost the quality of meat and other products produced therefrom, aside the most important benefit of curbing insecurity and promoting peaceful coexistence.
Shehu therefore concludes by seeking the cooperation of all stakeholders to make the program a success:
“We urge states to join the Federal Government at the centre in encouraging all sides to these conflicts to make efforts towards finding a peaceful resolution.
“As we seek a permanent solution to these unwanted conflicts, efforts must be made to ensure that no innocent person faces any kind of deprivation or loss of right and freedom under our laws.”