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Nigerian govt denies Afenifere’s claim of subtle RUGA agenda

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Herdsmen

The Federal Government has dispelled reports of an agenda to ensure the entrenchment of the RUGA scheme via the establishment of 109 Integrated Farm Estate.

This was contained in a statement issued on Friday by the Executive Secretary of National Land Development Authority (NALDA), Mr Paul Ikonne who noted that the establishment of 109 Integrated Farm Estate by the Federal Government has nothing to do with RUGA or ranches.

Ripples Nigeria had reported that President Muhammadu Buhari directed NALDA to establish integrated farm estates in all the 109 senatorial districts to boost food production across the country.

However, the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, in a statement by its spokesman, Mr Jare Ajayi, accused the federal government of attempting to bring back the rejected cattle colony and RUGA through the establishment of the farm estates.

In response to these accusations, Ikonne, who spoke to State House correspondents at Owerri International Cargo Airport on Friday, said: ”Well, it’s unfortunate, it’s not another type or anything that has to do with RUGA. The Integrated Farm Estate, the president mandated us to put it in all the 109 Senatorial Districts.

”After commissioning that of Daura, meaning he saw the productive nature, the impact that project will make.

”The project is meant for the community, to develop the community. What we have inside is poultry, fishery and for those who are doing piggery – piggery. So, is for the people.

”The insinuation is meant to mislead people as a result of lack understanding so to say.

READ ALSO: Afenifere implores Nigerian govt to enforce ban on open grazing

”But the true position is that the integrated farm estate is designed to accommodate the youths from that community in order to engage them into the entire agricultural value chain.

”And it depends on what the community is known for and what the community is interested in going into. Some states are getting poultry, cow – like in the north; in the south like Abia, they are doing fishery and rabbit rearing.

”In Oyo, we already have rabbit rearing and crop farming; in Ekiti State as well we have crop farming.

”So it depends on the environment, and it has nothing to do with Ruga at all. It’s purely for development, and to engage the youths and for the benefit of the immediate community, that is what the integrated farming estate stands for.”

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