Ita Enang, aide of President Muhammadu Buhari on national assembly matters, says N2.2 billion has already been earmarked in the 2019 budget for the implementation of Ruga programme.
The federal government had announced a suspension of the programme for its lack of consistency with the approved national livestock transformation plan.
But speaking with students of the law school in Abuja from Akwa Ibom, Enang explained that Ruga is not a derivative of Hausa or Fulfude, but an acronym for rural grazing area (RUGA) which was initiated in 1956 during the colonial era, and that it is not intended to Islamise or colonise anybody.
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 for the grazing programme.
He said members of the national assembly members were not against the programme because they aware of it and had approved funds for its implementation.
He said besides funds provided for the programme, the sum of N300 million was also budgeted for water sanitation; N400 million for development of sweet potatoes and N350 million for ginger farming.
Enang said the objective of the programme is to promote cattle breeding and meat production.
He also said there was another sum approved by the national economic council for states that would make land available.
”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,” he said.
”Over time cattle roamed and destroyed farms hence the introduction of the policy to address the issue.’’
He also said every year there have been monetary allocations for the continuous funding of grazing areas.
He added that the programme was a response to the herder-farmer crisis in the middle-belt and in some states in northeast and northwest.