THE last might not have been heard of the controversial RUGA settlement scheme, as reports emerged that the Federal Government may have begun to restrategise on how to reintroduce the scheme, which it recently suspended after public outcry.
A letter from the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, gave this indication away at the weekend.
According to the letter, dated 2 July, 2019, an implementation committee of the National Livestock Transformation Programme comprising representatives of the National Economic Council (NEC), National Food Security Council and Federal Executive Council as well as the minister is to be inaugurated to oversee the delivery of the national livestock transformation programme.
The letter also made reference to the directive to suspend RUGA because “it is not in accordance with the designs approved by NEC, NFSC and FEC,” a development which has been described as temporary, with a foremost Northern leader, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, boasting in an interview that RUGA scheme “will be back.”
Yakassai, in an interview with Sunday Tribune, insisting that the Federal Government only suspended the scheme but did not abandon it.
“RUGA settlement is only suspended, but not abandoned. It will come at a later date very soon…It is merely waiting for a better time to come back for its implementation. I believe they will do it,” Yakassai said.
He added that it would be in the interest of Nigerians for the Fulani herders to be settled in place.
But the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, in an interview, said any attempt to foist RUGA scheme on the South-West would be resisted, because “it is unwarranted, needless and a dangerous policy. It is a policy that can break this nation, just as it has overheated the policy.”
Adams said the plan to establish RUGA settlement was an attempt to revisit an alleged jihadist agenda that was started in 1804.
“We didn’t see the policy as a way to settle the crisis of herdsmen. We saw it as a dangerous trend that was coming to our abode in the South-West. And we saw it as a way of imposing on us those who had been threatening our lives and properties. We called on the whole world that we didn’t want the RUGA settlement policy,” he added.
In a related development, the Yoruba Summit Group, in a statement by its publicity secretary, Chief Gboyega Adejumo, warned the Federal Government not reintroduce the RUGA scheme following its suspension.