President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the Federal Government proposed Ruga Settlement Project.
The suspension came following vehement rejection of the plan by the public and state governments from the southern part of Nigeria.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State earlier today after the National Executive Council committee on farmers/herders crisis meeting announced that the president has suspended the programme.
“We are aware that today that Mr President has suspended the implementation of Ruga programme, initiated and being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, because it is not consistent with the NEC and Federal Government approved National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) which has programmes of rehabilitation of displaced IDPs, resulting from the crisis and also development of ranches in any willing state of the federation,” Governor Umahi said after the meeting held at the presidential villa in Abuja.
The Ruga settlement project has been welcomed with vehement rejection since its announcement by the federal government.
Governor Umahi who is the Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum had in a reaction to Ruga on behalf of the zone noted that no Ruga settlement would be built on any Igbo land.
He further noted that the zone was however ready to provide grass in exchange for herders meat in a trade by barter agreement.
Also, the governors in the South-West, most of which are chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had also rejected the project in the region.
Afenifere, the apex Yoruba social political group, also condemned Ruga project, saying that it was a plan by the federal government to fulanise Nigeria as revealed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Naija Buzz News published a report on how Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State who is an APC chieftain reacted to the Ruga project. Fayemi assured the people of Ekiti that as long as he is governor of the state, no one would take their land.
The presidency however accused state governors of misleading the public and creating unnecessary tension.
According to the presidency, Ruga project is optional and no state would be forced to give up its land for the project.
The presidency revealed that so far only 12 states have agreed to be part of the programme.
Speaking further about the recent development after the NEC meeting, Umahi said; “We the NEC committee on farmers/ herders crisis under the chairmanship of His Excellency Mr Vice President met today to deliberate on the approved programme of National Economic Council (NEC) and Federal Government, tagged, ‘the National Livestock Transformation Programme’
“The National Livestock Transformation Plan, its beauty is that what NEC and FG approved is a voluntary programme to all the 36 states who may like to participate. So, it is not compulsory, it is for any state that is willing, will key into the programme.
“Any state that is interested in this programme is required to bring up a development plan that is keyed towards the implementation in line with our own programme here that is unique to his state based on the challenges that he has in respect of the crisis. That’s the decision of this committee,” the governor said.
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.