The Presidency has said that the Federal Government earmarked N2.25 billion for the implementation of Ruga settlements in the 2019 budget.
The Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Ita Enang, said this while hosting students of Law School, Abuja, who are of Akwa Ibom State extraction on Sunday.
Enang advised state governors, especially the ones from the southern part of the country, to embrace and support the programme by making lands available for its implementation.
Explaining that the word Ruga was not derived from Hausa or Fulani, but an acronym for Rural Grazing Area, RUGA, initiated in 1956 during the colonial era, he said it was not intended to Islamise, Fulanised or colonise anybody as insinuated.
Enang cited the 2019 federal budget, Volume 1 under the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development item number ERGP 5208 where the sum of N2.258 billion was provided and budgeted for the grazing programme.
He maintained that National Assembly members were not against the Ruga programme because they were aware of it and had approved funds for its implementation, adding that the objective of the budget for Ruga was to promote cattle breeding and meat production.
He added that the programme was an integrated farm system which had schools, good road, tractors and mechanisation, as well as agricultural integration, with a provision for primary healthcare, veterinary, schools.
Enang, however, disclosed that aside from the budgeted sum for Ruga in the 2019 expenditure, there was another sum provided for emergency Ruga implementation programme approved in May by the National Economic Council, NEC, for states that will make land available.
Ndifrake Inyang, leader of the Akwa Ibom State Students of Nigerian Law School, Abuja Campus, said: “Today, the distinguished senator took a different dimension by enlightening us on the issue of Rural Grazing Area, RUGA. I recall that about two months ago, there was crisis in Taraba and Benue states.”