Understanding The NLTP and The Suspension of #Rugasettlement
The Nigerian government adopted the National Economic Council (NEC) National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) after President Muhammadu Buahri suspended Ruga programme initiated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. Following the controversy and suspension, David Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State announced the new development on Wednesday last week while briefing state house correspondents.
According to Umahi, “The Ruga settlements is a rural settlement in which animal, farmers and herders stay in a designated place providedwith basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets, among others.” These were Sherif Quadri’s opening comments on Morning Crossfire.
He went on to note that it is crucial to note that the initiative has sparked nationwide controversy. In a news report, Umahi said that the NLTP would be all-inclusive, adding that it was for states that were willing to key into the program. Each willing state is expected to come forward with a plan unique to it based on the challenges that it has in respect of the farmers.
Commenting on how he felt when the federal government announced Ruga suspension, Journalist, Data and Policy Expert, Rotimi Sankore referred to the story of General Babangida. He said if the federal government cancelled instead of suspend. “I guess this is their own way in acknowledging that if they had gone further with it, the thing would have led to chaos. So by all means, people should call for complete cancellation.”
He said it is difficult for the federal government to later hint the masses that they have reconsidered the matter and want to bring Ruga back, as “that will call for complete chaos and protests.”
Another Policy and Development Expert, Andy Akportive joined on the phone lines. He reflected on Ruga and said he felt that it was “another emergency, not well-thought out plan.” It was like government trying to shut down the feelings of the people. “ lot of times,” he continued, this government has put in place several policies without caring about what people felt and they shove it down the throats of the people. He alluded to the case of the Nigerian Airways as an example, and went on to claim that Ruga is a Fulani word, which one thing that makes it a divisive plan for Nigerians.
“Ruga is a Fulani word. Ruga is not a word appreciative to Christians, so if you are to create a program for a nation why name it after a people? Secondly, how does the government save up billions of naira for a small section of people in the country? The herders are predominantly Fulani people. So how do you build facilities for these people when you know that other people will not benefit from it?
“We have been told that these herders are not essentially Nigerians alone. We have heard from the president that these are people coming from Libya.”
Coming to Rotimi’s thoughts about if it was possible for the Ruga program to solve the strife between herdsmen and farmers, he said not necessarily so. He believed that it would have focused the conflict as the Ruga settlements were meant for the herders to live in, whereas, ”ranching as a business is to make the cattle business better, more profitable, more organized to provide better nutrition.”
For him, the problem had nothing to do with religious or ethnic dispensations but rather he would see the challenges as failure of government for not providing adequate education for the herders. Their sense of community is not that well balanced. It is also possible to see an aura of entitlement in some of them if the plan for Ruga moved forward.
“For example, herders are not clashing with farmers because they’re Fulani. They are clashing because the animals move across peoples farms,” Rotimi claims.
But what about the NLTP, which the president said he approves?
The NLTP is built on six key pillar themes. The six key pillars include
Justice and peace
Humanitarian relief and early recovery
Human capital development and cross-cutting issues such as gender, youth, research and information and strategic communications
For Andy, that in itself is also not well received. What about the internally displaced persons (IDP)? Their travails have been going on for some time and some people have been saying that there are no solid plans for the IDPs while the government is planning this for the herders.
'UNDERSTANDING THE NATIONAL LIVESTOCK TRANSFORMATION POLICY AND THE SUSPENSION OF #RUGASETTLEMENT'
#MorningCrossfire with @SheriffQuadry
ResourcePersons: Andy Akportive & @RotimiSankore - Policy & Development Experts
Resource Person: Rotimi Sankore (Journalist, Data and Policy Expert)
Written by Jude Chukwuemeka