Ruga: We ’ll cooperate with FG ― Bauchi gov

•Buhari not imposing Ruga on states ― Lalong

Governor of Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed, on Monday brushed aside the controversy surrounding the establishment of Ruga (cattle Fulani settlements) around the country, saying as a state with 60 to 70% Fulani population, Bauchi welcomes the initiative.

He spoke to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, saying that the state will cooperate with the federal government in its implementation.

The former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) affirmed that the project will help to address insecurity in the country.

He said the programme is not strange to Bauchi “because there are more Fulanis in the State, 60 or 70 per cent of the population in Bauchi are Fulanis and therefore we must leverage on all these.”

He added: “We have illiteracy, insurgency and so many things that are bombarding us in terms of social challenges and security challenges. Definitely, we will do that.”

Mohammed, who was recently elected under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said he was at the presidential villa to confer with the President on some of the insecurity challenges facing the state.

He noted that Bauchi State loves President Buhari more than any state in Nigeria, as he noted that “the President is there for all of us, he is not a partisan President,” adding: “I am the leader of the people many consider more APC than PDP.”

He said the state will continue to support the Federal Government because “there are issues that are within us and there are issues that are beyond our capacity. Therefore, we must establish a partnership. I have come to discuss very serious issues concerning Bauchi because people in Bauchi have given me that leadership.

“I must establish a relationship with the Federal Government because of the serious challenges that we have, challenges in development, social issues and security issues.”

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Also speaking with State House correspondents after a separate meet with President Buhari, Plateau state governor Simon Lalong, said the President was not imposing Fulani settlements on unwilling states contrary to speculation.

He said the different appellations that had been given to the programme was the source of controversy enveloping it as according to him, there had been a lot of sensitization over the agreed ranching initiative under Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said: “I think the Rugu thing should not be anything that should bring controversy with the level of sensitization we’ve already made.

“I am a member of the food security committee, I am a member of the herdsmen/farmers committee. We’ve gone a long way on this issue and we’ve said that the only solution that can address some of these insecurity issues between herdsmen and farmers is the ranching policy.

“You remember that one time we have gone far when some people called it a colony and called it this and that, and it created controversy.

“Again, we have gone far under the leadership of Mr Vice President, and then we are hearing other terms. What they are talking about it’s the same thing that we are talking about.

“But I think when they mention Ruga, it may be particular to a particular tribe.  But what we are doing is all-encompassing. It’s for the benefit of Nigeria.

“I have said particularly in my state that animal husbandry, livestock rearing is not a prerogative of one tribe. Everybody must get involved in it and that is what we have done in our state when we registered for it.

“We said we are going to put these structures to enable us to encourage youth, train youth. Right now we are training permanent secretaries, retired civil servants who would also get involved in it so that we can address some of the insecurity that we have in the nation.

“So, when somebody mentioned another word, people would not wait to question and find out who and who are bringing those words. That is just a simple fact.

“But if you go to what we have done because they have mentioned some states which are included, yes, those states applied, those states said we have land for it.

It’s not federal government that is imposing it on any state. To the benefit of Mr President, the President has not imposed that on any states. It was voluntary. And they said any state that is prepared to do that to address insecurity in his state should come and apply.

“So, some of the state’s applied and we are at the level of the pilot scheme and some mischief makers would start bringing terms to cause confusion in the country. It’s very unfortunate.”