Plateau Governor and Chairman Northern Governors Forum Barr. Simon Lalong has said the reasons why he rejected the Rural Grazing Area Programme, commonly referred to as RUGA, from being implemented in Plateau State was because it was a ‘strange concept’.
Lalong, who was speaking on Channels TV programme, Sunrise Daily in Jos on Tuesday, said the RUGA intiative was a strange concept that came after the National Economic Council thoroughly debated, scrutinised and adopted the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP) as a very comprehensive and inclusive idea to tackle herder-farmer clashes and other associated challenges.
He said because the RUGA initiative did not have the buy in of stakeholders and fell short of addressing the concerns of most governors, it was not possible to embrace it. This he said further fuelled the misconception over the NLTP which is neither for one ethnic group nor meant for land grabbing.
“I was one of the first governors to kick against the RUGA programme when it was introduced. To start with, the concept was literally sneaked in for reasons we did not understand.
“For me as Governor of Plateau State, I just heared that they have erected signposts in some sites within some local governments. “How can you earmark such a project without my knowledge and buy-in of the people in my state? I had no interest in it because it was far below the NLTP which was more robust and passed through series of engagements with critical stakeholders,” he said.