For the umpteenth time, Enugu State government has refuted rumours of secretes allocation of land for Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) settlement in the state. The state government said that her position has not changed from that of the South East Governor’s Forum which made it clear that there is no land for RUGA in South East geopolitical zone of the country.
Speaking on the matter, an official of the state government who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter said that “mischief makers” have refused to let the matter die possibly out of their “sinister motives”.
It would be recalled that the South East Governor’s Forum only recently reiterated her position that the zone would not allocate any land for RUGA because there is no land to allocate.
In a communiqué by the Chairman of the Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, the governors reinstated their rejection of RUGA settlement within the zone, even as they resolved to pull resources together to fund any farmer or investor from the zone ready to go into Cassava, cow rearing, piggery, goat rearing, poultry, fishery and other cash crops permitted by the soil within the zone.
“On the issue of RUGA, the Forum maintains its earlier decision that there is no land in South East for RUGA programme,” the communique noted. Also, weighing in the Imo State government said it has no plans whatsoever of allocating any land to the RUGA project of the federal government. It noted also that the state was not secretly mapping out any land or thinking of secretly mapping out lands for RUGA.
In a chat with our correspondent, the Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Imo state, Mr. Steve Osuji said the matter has since been settled in Imo and government was looking at areas of intervention that will speed up the rebuilding and development of Imo State. He said: “This matter has been discussed in the South-East Governors’ Forum and the governors reached a resolution and unanimously took a position against the RUGA project.
The Ohanaeze ndigbo had also declared and taken their stand against the RUGA project. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no discussion on the issue of RUGA at the state executive council meetings. So we stand with the South-East governors on RUGA.”
Osuji continued: “Secondly, Our people are vehemently opposed to the RUGA idea and it may be impossible for any governor in this region to embrace RUGA. Such governor may find himself instantly disconnected from his people and it is a sure way to political suicide.
Anambra state governor Chief Willie Obiano has dismissed claims that land has been aquired for Ruga settlement insisting that government is currently sponsoring the establishment of Igbo cattle farm.
According to the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightement Chief C Don Adinuba such allegations are spurious and unfounded adding that no land has been made available for that
Adinuba contended that she issue of Ruga has put to rest by the Federal government adding that the Anam bra state government has no such plans for that
“We have a special project for the local Igbo farm and we are making progress on that. So the issue of Ruga do not come into picture
Less than 72 hours after the Benue State government out rightly rejected the federal government’s proposed National Livestock Transformation Plan, (NLTP), and the government Friday made a detour indicating interest to domesticate the programme, widely believed to be the establishment of RUGA settlement in disguise.
The state government had met with major stakeholders drawn from the traditional institution, the church, socio-cultural organisations, the academia and civil society groups during an interface with a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources on the implementation of the NLTP.
The government in a resolution after the meeting as contained in a statement by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Terver Akase, described the plan to establish NLTP in the state as “a round peg in a square hole”.
The stakeholders maintained that the document detailing the NLTP and its implementation only talks about cattle and no other category of livestock, stressing that “the plan was targeted at reintroducing the rejected RUGA settlements and cattle colonies for herdsmen”.
But the government, after yesterday’s meeting with the Miyetti Allah group and other stakeholders, reneged on its earlier position on rejection of NLTP saying it took the hasty decision “due to lack of adequate information”.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Timothy Ijir, in a statement reconsidering the stand of government said they “resolved to domesticate NLTP in Benue State and to ensure that it conforms with the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state”.
“Benue stakeholders drawn from the traditional institution, the church, socio-cultural organisations, the academia, members of the Benue State Executive Council, the civil society and Miyetti Allah, met again and deliberated on the Federal Government proposed National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, in order to take a position on implementation of the programme since it was earlier rejected due to lack of adequate information”.
“The stakeholders went through the complete document which was recently made available to them”.
“The meeting which was the second of its kind in the state was facilitated by former Director of Livestock Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Joseph Nyager”.
“After exhaustive deliberations, stakeholders resolved to reconsider their position in view of the fact that they now have enough information to make an informed decision”.
“It was also resolved during the meeting that a technical team of experts be put together to study the NLTP document and identify areas suitable for implementation in Benue State based on peculiarities of the state”.
“The meeting also resolved that the NLTP should be domesticated in Benue State and to ensure that it conforms to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state”.
Dr. Ijir reiterated the resolve of the state executive council at evolving its agricultural development policy to capture the people’s interest.