Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has made some clarifications on the controversial Ruga settlement.
In an interview on Channels TV’s News at 10, he stated that the plan was initiated in order to stop the roaming of cattle which had been met with incidents of clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
According to him, there is no difference between cattle ranching and the Ruga settlement plan and no state government has been coerced to be a part of it.
“Let me say that the Ruga settlement plan is the same thing as ranching as proposed by many stakeholders including some state governments that have promulgated anti-grazing laws to the effect that they had banned that practice in favour of cattle ranching.
“Cattle-ranching is the same thing as Ruga it’s six and half a dozen – what really is the difference, why is the Federal Government introducing it?
“It is being introduced in order to stop the roaming of cattle which had been met with incidents of clashes between farmers and herdsmen so everyone had come to the conclusion that this was a bad practice.
“So we want to settle them down and let them do their business there so what is the Federal Government doing other than this… asking state governments if they wish to be a part of this. All the states that have signed on to it, have done so by application and they have met given criteria,” he said.
Meanwhile, the office of the Vice President had denied supervising the establishment of the Ruga settlements, contrary to a claim by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.
In a statement issued last Friday, the Vice President’s Spokesman, Laolu Akande, noted that the Ruga initiative is different from the National Livestock Transformation Plan approved by state governors, under the auspices of the National Economic Council (NEC).
The council, which is chaired by Professor Osinbajo, had on January 17, 2019, approved the plan based on the recommendations of its technical committee.
Akande further stated that the scheme will be implemented in seven pilot states on the frontlines of the farmer-herder crises which include: Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara.
According to him, other states such as Katsina, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo, and Edo have also indicated readiness to implement the plan.
The VP’s office also insists that the Federal Government will not impose on any state government regarding its land.