Says scheme to gulp N2.2bn in 2019
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, at the weekend called on states in the southern part of the country to support the implementation of the proposed RUGA cattle settlement programme by making land available.
According to him, N2.258 billion was provided for its implementation in the 2019 budget.
He spoke in Abuja while hosting students of Law School, Abuja, from Akwa Ibom State.
He explained that the word – RUGA is not derived from Hausa or Fulani, but an acronym for Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) initiated in 1956 during the colonial era.
He also assured it was not intended to Islamise, Fulanise or colonise anybody.
He said that the budgetary provision is in volume 1 under the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural development item number ERGP 5208 where the sum of N2.258 billion was provided and budgeted for the grazing programme.
He said that National Assembly members are not against the Ruga programme because they are aware of it and has been approving funds for its implementation.
Besides the over N2 billion appropriated for the Ruga, he said that there were also budgeted sum of N300 million for water sanitation, N400 million development for sweet potatoes, 350 million for ginger development among several other provisions.
The RUGA policy, he said, is just one component of the budget under the ministry of agriculture.
He added that the objective of the budget for RUGA is to promote cattle breeding and meet production.
The RUGA programme, e said, is an integrated farm system, which has schools, good road, tractors and mechanisation, agricultural integration with a provision for primary healthcare, vetinary, schools.
Apart from the budgeted sum for RUGA in the 2019 budget, there is another sum provided for the emergency Ruga implementation programme approved in May by the National Economic Council for states that will make land available.
Enang said that since 1999 he has been hosting students of Law School from Akwa Ibom State but this was specifically to enlighten them on the objective of RUGA programme against the ongoing misconceptions.
He asked the law students one after the other what they know about RUGA and each and everyone gave his view on the issue.
He went on: “RUGA is not a plan to seize land from people neither and it’s not meant to fulanise or colonise anybody.
”The programme is meant to address the issue of cattle roaming and destruction of farmland which would put an end to the herders/farmers crisis,” Enang explained.
According to him, people in the south have farm settlements and plantations that can be equated to Ruga.
“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
One of the first RUGA programmes, he said, is Obudu Cattle Ranch and the Yankari Games Reserve.
He faulted the claims by some governors that it was meant to Fulanise peole.
He said 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 North-central, and few states in North-west and North-east.