Plateau governor, Simon Lalong, on Monday said ex-President Goodluck Jonathan budgeted N10 billion for Ruga settlements, insisting that no state in the country was being forced to be part of the Ruga initiative.
According to Lalong, had the admistration of the former president implemented the policy, the level of insecurity in the country would not be as high as it is today.
Lalong, who spoke with newsmen after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said the herdsmen/farmers committee, headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, had agreed that ranching is the only solution that can address some of the security issues between herdsmen and farmers.
He described as needless the controversy that has trailed the attempted take off of the scheme in some select states.
He said, “The fact that federal government is bringing subsidy was a request from the committee chaired by Mr Vice President. Goodluck Jonathan did it and he budgeted about N10 billion but we didn’t see the money. If he had done that at that time, we would not be fighting insecurity between herders and farmers today.”
“I think the Ruga thing should not be anything that should bring controversy with the level of sensitisation we’ve already made,” he said.
“I am a member of the food security committee. I am a member of the herdsmen/farmers committee. We’ve gone a long way on this issue and we’ve said that the only solution that can address some of these insecurity issues between herdsmen and farmers is the ranching policy. You remember that one time we some people called it colony and called it this and that, and it created controversy.
“Again, we have gone far under the leadership of Mr Vice President, and then we are hearing other terms, what they are talking about it’s the same thing that we are talking about. But I think when they mentioned Ruga, it may be particular to a particular tribe but what we are doing is all encompassing, it’s for the benefit of Nigeria.
“I have said particularly in my state that animal husbandry, livestock rearing is not a prerogative of one tribe, everybody must get involved in it and that is what we have done in our state when we registered for it. We said we are going to put these structures to enable us to encourage youth, train youth. Right now we are training permanent secretaries, retired civil servants who would also get involved in it so that we can address some of the insecurity that we have in the nation.
“So when somebody mentioned another word, people would not wait to question and find out who and who are bringing those words, that is just the simple fact. But if you go to what we have done because they have mentioned some states which are included, yes, those states applied, those states said we have land for it. It’s not federal government that is imposing it on any state.
“To the credit of Mr President, he has not imposed that on any states, it was voluntary. And they said any state that is prepared to do that to address insecurity in his state should come and apply. So some of the state’s applied and we are at the level of the pilot scheme and some mischief makers would start bringing terms to cause confusion in the country. It’s very unfortunate,” he concluded.