Ruga programme suspension: VON DG hails Buhari’s decision

The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON)  Mr Osita Okechukwu, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to suspend the planned RUGA settlement programme.

Okechukwu gave the commendation in Enugu on Wednesday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“By suspending the RUGA settlement programme, Buhari has acted statesmanly.

“I must commend him, not minding that the programme was a laudable one, but still went ahead to act on calls by well-meaning Nigerians to suspend it.

“This once again has shown that President Buhari is someone that listens and values the views of well-meaning Nigerians concerning national issues,’’ he said.

According to him, Buhari has demonstrated that he is a true democrat, who strongly believes on the principles of democracy.

Okechukwu, who is a chieftain of  the All Progressives Congress (APC) explained that it takes  a leader with the interest of his citizenry at heart to bend over even when there was nothing technically wrong with a well-thought-out national programme or policy.

“Since, well-meaning Nigerians suggest that there was a better way to treat the farmer-herders and animal rustling issues, Buhari as a good democrat is ready to listen.

“I believe he will buy their idea if logical and for the common good of all,’’ he said.

NAN reports that Buhari on Wednesday suspended the `Ruga Settlement’ Programme initiated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in preference for the National Economic Council’s (NEC) National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).

Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after a meeting of the NEC Committee of Farmers/Herders Crisis Chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

`Ruga Settlement’ is a rural settlement in which animal farmers/herders stay in an designated place provided with basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets among others.

However, the initiative had elicited nationwide controversy.

Umahi said that the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) would be all inclusive, adding that it was for states that were willing to key into the programme.

“We, the NEC Committee on Farmers/Herders Crisis under the Chairmanship of the vice president, met today to deliberate on the approved programme of the NEC and Federal Government tagged, NLTP.

“We are aware that the president has suspended the implementation of `Ruga’ Programme initiated and being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“This is because it is not consistent with the NEC and federal government’s approved NLTP,’’ he said.

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