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Northern governors react as Buhari suspends RUGA initiative

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The Northern Governors’ Forum has called for calm following the suspension of the “Ruga” cattle settlement project.

President Muhammadu Buhari had to suspend the implementation of the over N12 billion Ruga project which was meant to be created across the 36 states of the federation as a result of the public outcry that greeted the initiative.

The initiative the presidency had argued is a solution to the incessant cattle-farmer crisis.

But this did not go down well with some groups in support of the programme, who felt that the president halted the projects as a result of the pressure mounted on the government.

The group Coalition of Northern Group  (CNG) therefore issued President Buhari a 30-day ultimatum to commence the implementation of the project across the country.

Ás part of the efforts to douse tensions, the governors urged the Coalition to exercise retrain, while the governors engage with stakeholders on better way forward.

Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong of Plateau state, in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday called for total restraint from the coalition.

The governor also urged the coalition to allow the government handle the matter, assuring them that the government will come out with a solution that would better serve the benefit is all.

The statement reads: “With the ensuing development following the announcement of the suspension of the Rug: resettlement initiative by the federal government yesterday, it has become pertinent for me as Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum to make clarifications on the true position in order to calm nerves.

“We have acknowledged the varied responses that have been coming in throughout the hours after the announcement of the suspension which we see as part of the beauty of democracy which allows citizens to participate in shaping and moderating the functions of government with regards to matter of public interest.

“Meanwhile we urge all stakeholders and all shades of interested parties, especially from the North, to remain calm and air their views democratically and decently while allowing the government chance to handle the matter.

“In the meantime, we are happy to announce that we are reaching out in engagement with major stakeholders in the matter particularly in the North, after receiving the position of the leadership of the Coalition of Northern Groups with the hope of getting the public to fully understand the whole concept and the wisdom behind the decision by the government.

“We acknowledge here the Coalition’s concerns and in particular, its decency in urging the northern people to remain civil and resist the temptation to be drawn into anything untoward.

“We are reassured that the leadership of the Coalition is genuinely and responsibly concerned with the betterment of the whole nation and with the well-being of the Northem region and people in particular, and that it will continue to work for calm and understanding.

“We assure everyone that at the end of the day, what is coming out of the suspension would tum out to be more beneficial and in the best interest of the whole nation.

“We am working on a complete package that comes with multi sectoral and multidimensional benefits that would serve the interest of all both in the short and loc terms.

“We once again urge for, understanding and cooperation from all. “

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