The suspension of the Ruga settlement policy by President Muhammadu Buhari seemed to have created an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity on the issue.
But based on the recent revelation by the aide to President Buhari, Ita Enang, the allocation of 2.2 billion naira in 2019 budgets has raised some fresh concerns.
Naija News understands that Senator Ita Enang, gave the revelation while speaking with students of the law school in Abuja from Akwa Ibom. Enang also revealed that the National Assembly Lawmakers are not against the Ruga programme because they are aware of it and have been approving funds for its implementation.
Besides the over N2 billion appropriated for the Ruga project, the sum of N300 million was allocated to water sanitation, N400 million for the production of sweet potatoes, N350 million for ginger development amongst several other funds, Enang said.
Enang explained that the Ruga policy was just a component of the budget under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
He stressed that the objective of the budget for Ruga was to promote cattle breeding and meet national production target, adding that it is an integrated farm system which has schools, good roads, tractors and mechanisation, agricultural integration, provision for primary healthcare, and veterinary schools for the beneficiaries.
Aside from the budgeted fund for Ruga in the 2019 expenditure, Enang stated there was another amount provided for the emergency Ruga implementation programme approved in May by the National Economic Council for states that would make land available for it.
Speaking further, he said: “One of the rumours was that President Muhammadu Buhari was going to acquire land from other Nigerians to feed cows. Ruga is neither a plan to seize land from people nor meant to Fulanise or colonise anybody.
”The programme is meant to address the issue of cattle roaming about and the destruction of farmlands which would put an end to the herders/farmers’ crisis. The idea of Ruga graduated in 1978 into the Land Use Act which states that a portion of land has to be reserved for grazing to avoid the destruction of farm produce by cattle.
”Over time, cattle roamed and destroyed farms hence the introduction of the policy to address the issue,” he said.
Enang also faulted the claims by some governors that it was meant to Fulanise other Nigerians and insisted that the emergency Ruga programme did not involve any state in the South East, South West and the South-South because the areas that had the problems were about 10 states mainly in the North Central, and a few states in the North West and North East.