Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state has said that former president, Goodluck Jonathan, budgeted N10 billion for the Ruga settlement programme but the programme wasn’t implemented.
The Cable reports that the Plateau governor said this at the presidential villa on Monday, July 1, where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Lalong said if the money budgeted by Jonathan was put to use, there would have been no need to address a farmers-herders conflict now.
He said: “The fact that federal government is bringing subsidy was a request from the committee chaired by Mr Vice President. Goodluck Jonathan did it and he budgeted about N10 billion but we didn’t see the money. If he had done that at that time, we would not be fighting insecurity between herders and farmers today.”
The governor also addressed the concern that the programme is being funded by the federal government, saying it addresses both economic and security issue.
He said: “I was here one time when people asked why is the federal government subsidizing ranching? And I also asked why is the federal government subsidizing agriculture? This is a policy that we felt that it is not only for economic sense, but it would also address the issue of security.
“So if it is going to address insecurity in a period the country is confronted with serious security challenges, then federal government would come and assist those who want to do it.”
According to him, the federal government is not imposing the programme on any state.
“They said if you have land for pilot scheme they can assist, and donor agencies are coming from all over, it is not a federal government project, the world bank in involved, the African Development Bank is involved. So if you have a scheme like this that can take poverty away, bring revenue and also address insecurity, you will need to go into it but with due consultation from your state.
“We did a lot of sensitization, in my state it took me three months to do sensitization and we all agreed that we should bring this concept to empower people. It is not meant to empower one tribe it is for everybody and that would address the issue of insecurity because we don’t want people moving from one place to another looking for grasses.”