The Presidency on Tuesday explained that what President Muhammadu Buhari suspended was Ruga settlement for herdsmen, and not its National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
The Senior Policy Adviser (Agriculture Interventions Coordination) in the Office of the Vice President, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, gave this explanation when he spoke with newsmen in Abuja at a training session organised for the executives of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and its officers in eight states regarded as flashpoints.
The training was themed “Dialogue and Negotiations: Why, when and how to be effective,” and was jointly organised by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
Kwasari also said while speaking to newsmen that Nigerians should not see the 30 days ultimatum the Coalition of Northern Groups gave for the implementation of Ruga project as something to worry about.
“The National Livestock Transformation Plan has not been suspended. In fact, it has been enhanced because Mr. President, in his wisdom, has spoken and directed that this is the plan that we should be working around to implement.
“We will need all-encompassing committee of the National Economic Council, National Food Security Council, and the Federal Executive Council working together to deliver this plan. So, for us, this is the type of leadership that the country needs. So, there is no mention of suspension whatsoever for the NLTP,” he said.
Kwasari’s explanation is coming just as some Nigerians have accused President Muhammadu Buhari government of making efforts to re-introduced the suspended Ruga project through NLTP, which many consider to be one and same thing with the Ruga project.
This is especially as President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, once claimed when he appeared in a recent television programme that the difference between Ruga and NLTP is the name.
On the suspension of Ruga saga, Kwasari said, “I think the President has the overwhelming support and his decision has resonated with the majority. I think we should not worry about the threats. They don’t earn my respect in anyway, I can’t support them. My support is for the President and the people of Nigeria.
“Their threat is divisive, I think these people should listen to the majority of this country and above all, accord respect to the office of the President, if they are true citizens of this country.
“The President took the decision to suspend the Ruga policy in the interest and common good of all Nigerians. Are we supposed to be concerned about rallying around the President who has taken a decision or a portion of society that feels otherwise for whatsoever reason? I don’t know whatever evidence that they have.”
On whether there are moves to arrest the northern youths who issued the ultimatum he said, “I’m sure that the appropriate agencies are considering whatever action they will take. What is within my power is to make sure that the President’s directive is obeyed.”
Also speaking to newsmen, the national secretary of MACBAN, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, told said “by training them, their capacity to mitigate crisis will be thorough. The training is timely because peace building is essential.
“Peace is very essential in the communal peace and dialogue plan. There has to be initiative that will bring about understanding among communities, most importantly among the pastoral communities and other communities in the country. What is missing now is the peace that had existed in the past between the pastoralists and the communities across the nation.”