By Lawrence Olaoye
- Urges southern govs to embrace policy
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate) Matters, Senator Ita Enang has disclosed that the federal government budgeted N2.258 billion for the implementation of Ruga policy in the 2019 budget.
Enang made the disclosure at the weekend while playing host to the students of the Law school from Akwa-Ibom in Abuja led by Mr. Ndifrake Inyang.
He called on all southern state governors to key into the programme, explaining 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 stressed that the program was not intended to islamize, fulanize or colonize anybody.
Supporting his claims, Enang cited the 2019 federal budget, volume 1 under the ministry of agricultural and rural development item number ERGP 5208 where the sum of N2.258bn was provided and budgeted for the grazing programme.
He maintained that the National Assembly members were not against the Ruga programme because they were aware of it and had been approving funds for its implementation.
Besides the over N2 billion appropriated for the Ruga there were also budgeted sum of N300 million for water sanitation, N400 million for development of sweet potatoes, N350 million for ginger development amongst several others.
He said that the ruga policy was just one component of the budget under the ministry of agriculture.
According to him, the objective of the budget for Ruga was to promote cattle breeding and meat production.
He explained that the Ruga programme was an integrated farm system which has schools, good road, tractors and mechanisatiom, agricultural integration.
with a provision for primary healthcare, vetinery, schools.
He, however, disclosed that aside the budgeted sum for Ruga in the 2019 expenditure, there was another sum provided for the emergency Ruga implementation programme approved in May by the National Economic Council for states that will make land available.
He said ”One of the rumours was that President Buhari was going to acquire land people’s feed cow, ” he said.
”Ruga is not a plan to seize land from people neither and it’s not meant to fulanize or colonize 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 the presidential aide, people in the south have farm settlements and plantations which he equates to Ruga.
Responding to questions from his visitors, he said in most places wealth is measured by the number of cattle one has.
Enang said that people in the southern part of the country preferred the local cow because it is more nutritious than the ones brought from the north.
He urged the states in the south to open up their lands for Ruga.
Enang appealed to all Nigerians to stop politicizing the implementation of the ruga policy.
The students appreciated the senator appealing to government to increase its public enlightenment programme to enable the citizens understand better its policies and programmes in order to avoid rancor.