Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, flagged off the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) in Adamawa State on Tuesday amidst reservation in many circles about the plan.
Osinbajo, who visited the Gongoshi Grazing Reserve in Mayo-Belwa Local Government Area of the state to do the flag-off, had to stress that the NLTP is simply what it is called and not the much vilified Ruga Settlement Scheme.
“Each state will determine its own model to implement and provide the land on its own. The federal government has not come to grab any land. This is not Ruga,” Osinbajo stressed.
Adamawa State has long been divided over the scheme, with a section seeing it as Ruga in disguise and raising questions concerning it.
Right at the flag-off venue in Gongoshi, what amounted to a mild protest occurred, as even cultural troupes duly authorised to entertain Osinbanjo, Governor Ahamadu Fintiri, Deputy Governor Crowther Seth and other eminent personalities, carried banners expressing divergent views.
Two of the banners said, ‘No to mobile livestock husbandry,’ ‘No settlement for non-cattle Fulani.’
In another open show of reservation at the flag-off venue, a group, the Numan Federation Foundation, which describes itself as representing the interest of five LGAs in the state, claimed in a petition shared to journalists that the NLTP, even with its avowed conflict prevention potential, amounts to placing “the interest of increased livestock production in favor of pastoralists over and above human rights protection.”
Vice President Osinbajo stressed that the NLTP is not Ruga but a harmless scheme for effective use of land and water in peaceful communities.
He said the plan was drawn up in the height of the farmers/herders crisis to find a suitable way around it.
The state governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, also assured the people that the NLTP is not Ruga, but a project he is convinced has the answers to perennial clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
The Chairman of the state Committee for the implementation of the livestock transformation plan, Prof Alikidon Voh, explained during the flag-off that out of Nigeria’s 415 grazing reserves, Adamawa State has the highest number of 69, five of which had been earmarked for the implementation of the NLTP in the state, including the Gongoshi Grazing Reserve (~r�~�.