Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state has explained why he rejected the Rural Grazing Area Programme popularly referred to as RUGA.
The Governor who appeared on a Channels Television program on Tuesday February 23, said RUGA was sneaked in for reasons they did not understand after the National Economic Council had adopted the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP).
Lalong said that while the council which is headed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo saw NLTP as a comprehensive approach to tackling the cattle herder-farmers conflict and associated challenges in Nigeria, RUGA did not have the buy-in of concerned parties and fell short of addressing the concerns of most state governors.
“I was one of the first governors to kick against the RUGA programme when it was introduced.
“To start with, the concept was literally sneaked in for reasons we did not understand. For me as Governor of Plateau State, I just heard that they had erected signposts in some sites within some local governments.
“How can you embark on such a project without my knowledge and the buy-in of the people of my state?
“I had no interest in it because it was far below the NLTP, which was more robust and passed through a series of engagements with critical stakeholders.”
Lalong who further noted that the NLTP will go a long way in addressing the farmers-herders crsis, added that it will carry along many groups and individuals involved in livestock business and the value chain.
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