Ranch owners commend Buhari on suspension of Ruga programme

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THE Association of Ranch Owners of Nigeria, ARON, has commended the decision of the federal government to suspend the implementation of the Rural Grazing Area scheme, RUGA.

The group said the prompt decision to shelve the programme after widespread misgivings on its concept and modalities, attests to the sensitivity of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to run a people-oriented government.

The group in a statement signed by Tajudeen Abdulkareem, national publicity secretary, ARON, said Nigerians should not be seen, at this point in time, to dwell on the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of RUGA. He said step taken by government will enable policymakers to return to the drawing board in the interest of promoting national harmony, understanding and peaceful co-existence.

“We note the following, as we urge all Nigerians to take note that: The National Economic Council and the Federal Government had earlier approved a programme designated the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP. That the NLTP also has provision for the rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons within crises-affected States and development of Ranches in any willing State of the federation.

“It is on record, and without dispute, that the NLTP approved by the NEC and the Federal Government is only voluntary for any of the 36 States willing to participate. The policy document clearly indicates that any State Governor that is interested in NLTP is required to bring development plan in line with NLTP for implementation which will be unique to the particular State based on the challenges of the State. It is instructive that Bayelsa State started a ranching scheme in 2017.

“We would also like to elaborate on the facts behind the National Livestock Transformation Plan, supervised by the Office of the Vice President. As enunciated by the Vice President. The National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, 2019-2028 is a programme to be implemented in seven pilot states of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara (as decided by NEC in January), being states in the frontlines of the farmer-herder crises. Afterwards, six other states have indicated readiness to also implement the plan. They are Katsina, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo, and Edo.

“The plan has six pillars through which it aims to transform the livestock production system in Nigeria along market oriented value chain, while ensuring an atmosphere of peace and justice. The six key pillars include: economic investment, conflict resolution, justice and peace, humanitarian relief and early recovery, human capital development and cross-cutting issues such as gender, youth, research and information and strategic communication,” it said.

ARON also stated that the NLTP plan was approved by all state governors at the Nigerian Governors Forum meeting under the umbrella of the National Economic Council. It noted that NEC had on January 17 approved the plan based on the recommendations of a Technical Committee of the Council chaired by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.

Other governors on the committee and Working Group of NEC are those from Adamawa, Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Edo, Plateau, Oyo and Zamfara – mostly the frontline states in the farmer-herder crises.

The association, therefore pleads with all Nigerians to give the federal government the benefit of doubt in its intention to find a lasting solution to the farmers-herders conflict.

“We are convinced that the most enduring solution to the internal conflicts that have claimed many lives and destroyed communities is to promote peaceful co-existence by accommodating one another.

“We also believe that the creation of ranches will, on the long term, promote sustainable meat production, expand business opportunities and create wealth for entrepreneurs. This association welcomes all like-minds in the search for an enduring, sustainable and profitable animal husbandry venture – modern ranching,” it added.

– July 5, 2019 @ 18:25 GMT |

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