Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has given out some parts of Sambisa forest, a stronghold of the Boko Haram insurgents, for the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) programme.
Zulum disclosed when Garbai El-Kanemi, Shehu of Borno, paid him Sallah homage at the government house in Maiduguri.
The governor said forest areas mapped out for the programme cover Konduga, Bama, Gwoza, Chibok, Damboa and Askira-Uba.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Agro Rangers and hunters have been mobilised to secure these areas, he said.
“We have identified six different locations we considered safe for the pilot scheme in the state. The Ruga scheme is as old as history, is not a new thing. I don’t know why some people are politicising it,” the governor said.
“This administration is determined to strengthen the security architecture to encourage farming and herding activities across the state.
“We’re also distributing 80 patrol vehicles to the response team so that farmers, herders and commuters could move as well as travel within a radius of 30-40 kilometres of Maiduguri metropolis.
“About 75 trained agro rangers and 300 hunters will also be mobilised next week to enable farmers cultivate their farmlands that were prevented by terrorists’ activities.
“The state government is determined to address the root causes of insurgency through improved security; fight against drug abuse and enhance food security with increased job creation among unemployed youths.”
The governor said to secure travellers and ease movement of goods across the state, his administration has stared clearing vegetation along the Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu road.
In July, Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo state, said Sambisa is an ideal place to implement the Ruga programme.
The Federal Government had announced a suspension of the programme following rejection in different parts of the country.