Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
As stiff opposition and outrage trails the plan by President Muhammadu Buhari administration to build Ruga settlements in some states in Nigeria, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is currently presiding over National Food Security/Herders-Farmers Conflict meeting in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Those at the meeting are governors of Ebonyi, Dave Umahi; Plateau, Simon Lalong and Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu.
National Livestock Transformation Plan approved by state governors under the auspices of the National Economic Council (NEC) is chaired by the vice-president.
NEC had on January 17, 2019, approved the plan based on the recommendations of a technical committee of the council chaired by Governor Umahi of Ebonyi State.
Other state governors in the committee and working group of NEC are those from Adamawa, Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Edo, Plateau, Oyo and Zamfara – mostly the frontline states challenged by farmers-herders’ crisis.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, had in a statement to exonerate the vice-president as the brain behind the Ruga implementation, explained that:
“The National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) 2019-2028 is a programme to be implemented in seven pilot states of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara (as decided by NEC in January), being states in the frontlines of the farmera-herders’ crisis. Afterwards, six other states had indicated readiness to also implement the plan. They are Katsina, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo, and Edo states.
“The plan has six pillars through which it aims to transform the livestock production system in Nigeria along market-oriented value chain while ensuring an atmosphere of peace and justice.
The six key pillars include economic investment, conflict resolution, justice and peace, humanitarian relief and early recovery, human capital development and cross-cutting issues such as gender, youth, research and information and strategic communication.”