RUGA- Simply means rural settlement for animal and farmers, as the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, on Monday, waived aside the controversy surrounding the establishment of Ruga (cattle Fulani settlements) around the country.
According to him, the President was not imposing Fulani settlements on unwilling states contrary to speculations.
He spoke with State House correspondents on Monday after a meeting with President Buhari at the Aso Villa State House Abuja.
He said the different appellations that had been given to the programme was the source of controversy enveloping it.
According to him, there had been a lot of sensitization over the agreed ranching initiative under Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He said: “I think the Rugu thing should not be anything that should bring controversy with the level of sensitization we’ve already made.
“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 have gone far when some people called it a 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 mention 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 a 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 benefit of Mr President, the President 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.”