The Federal Government has reintroduced the controversial RUGA settlement scheme with Livestock Intervention Program following its 2019 suspension in response to public condemnation.
The new scheme, already being implemented in six northern states (Adamawa, Kwara, Niger, Bauchi, Kaduna and Gombe) will see the establishment of eight herder settlements in each of the states.
Winnie Lai-Solarin, the acting Director, Animal Husbandry Department, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, told The Punch that the number of pilot states was reduced to six from the initial 12 over media speculations that President Muhammadu Buhari wanted to take people’s land for his kinsmen.
“What we have now is the Livestock Intervention Project. And this intervention will take place in the settlements. It might also interest you to know that right now, the intervention has been reduced to six states,” she said.
“When we started, the states were 12 in number: Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Niger, Nasarawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Kogi. They were 12 originally.
“And all the states are in the North. The speculation and media reports made people start saying the government wanted to take people’s land in the South-West, South-East and others.”
Lai-Solarin, while noting that other states in the country were already showing interest, said government chose northern states because of the region’s large settlement and land to grow pastures.
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