The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, has called on states in the southern part of the country to support the implementation of the proposed Rural Grazing Areas programme of the Federal Government by making land available.
Enang said this on Saturday in Abuja when he hosted students of Law School, Abuja from Akwa Ibom State.
According to him, N2.258 billion was provided for the implementation of RUGA in the 2019 budget.
He said RUGA was not derived from Hausa or Fulani language, but an acronym for the programme initiated in 1956 during the colonial era, adding that it was not intended to Islamise, Fulanise or colonise anybody.
He said that the budgetary provision is in volume 1 under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development item number ERGP 5208, where the sum of N2.258 billion was provided and budgeted for the grazing programme.
He said National Assembly members are not against the RUGA programme because they are aware of it and have been approving funds for its implementation.
Besides the over N2 billion appropriated for the RUGA, Enang said other monies budgeted for the programme include N300 million for water sanitation, N400 million for sweet potatoes, N350 million for ginger development amongst several other provisions.
The RUGA policy, he said, is just one component of the budget under the Ministry of Agriculture.
He added that the objective of the budget for RUGA is to promote cattle breeding and meet production.
The RUGA programme, he said, is an integrated farm system which has schools, good road, tractors and mechanisation, agricultural integration with a provision for primary healthcare, veterinary and schools.
Enang said: “RUGA is not a plan to seize land from people neither and it’s not meant to Fulanize or colonize anybody.
“The programme is meant to address the issue of cattle roaming and destruction of farmland, which would put an end to the herders/farmers crisis.
“The idea of RUGA graduated in 1978 into the Land Use Act which states that a portion of land has to be reserved for grazing to avoid the destruction of farm produce by cattle.
“Over time, cattle roamed and destroyed farms, hence the introduction of the policy to address the issue.”