After public outcry and condemnation, President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the establishment of Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) initiative for herdsmen in the country.

Buhari made the decision at the meeting of the National Economic Council held at the Presidential Villa today.

Dave Umahi revealed the decision of the President while speaking to journalists after the NEC committee meeting.

Umahi stated that the initiative is not in line with the National Livestock Transformation Programme of the federal government.

“We the NEC committee on farmers/ herders crisis under the chairmanship of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo met today to deliberate on the approved programme of national economic council (NEC) and federal government, tagged, the National Livestock Transformation Programme.

“We are aware that today that Mr. President has suspended the implementation of Ruga programme, initiated and being implemented by the federal ministry of agriculture and natural resources, because it is not consistent with the NEC and federal government approved National Livestock Transformation plan which has programmes of rehabilitation of displaced IDPs, resulting from the crisis and also development of ranches in any willing state of the federation. The word is willing state of the federation.

“The National Livestock Transformation plan, its beauty is that what NEC and FG approved is a voluntary programme to all the 36 states who may like to participate. So, it is not compulsory, it is for any state that is willing, will key into the programme.

“Any state that is interested in this programme is required to bring up a development plan that is keyed towards the implementation in line with our own programme here that is unique to his state based on the challenges that he has in respect of the crisis. That’s the decision of this committee,” Umahi said.

Notale personalities including ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, have also condemned the act tagging the RUGA initiative as a way of Islamizing the country and prioritizing cattle over lives of thousand of Nigerians.

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