Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government was unaware it has become a laughing stock in the international community.
He was reacting to claims by Plateau State’s Governor Solomon Lalong, who reportedly said after a meeting with Buhari in Abuja on Monday, that the controversial proposed Ruga settlement for herders in the 36 states of the country was an initiative of the former President.
Lalong had made the claim when he spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting, adding that Jonathan even budgeted N10 billion for the settlements across the nation.
But responding in a statement signed by Reno Omokri and made available to newsmen by his media office on Tuesday, Jonathan said he should be left out of the controversies surrounding Buhari’s move to settle Fulani herdsmen in all the states of the federation.
“Our attention has been drawn to comments by the Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Solomon Lalong, in which he claims that the Ruga settlements currently being implemented nationwide for herdsmen by the Buhari regime are a Jonathan administration initiative and that former President Goodluck Jonathan should be blamed for the crisis occasioned by herdsmen which have risen to a head in recent times.
“Mr. Lalong, after meeting with General Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, July 1, 2019, then went on to say ‘If he (Dr. Jonathan) had done that (Ruga) at that time, we would not be fighting insecurity between herders and farmers today.’
“Nigerians are used to the Buhari administration and its privies blaming all their challenges on the Jonathan administration and this latest act of dereliction of duty is therefore not surprising.
“Obviously, the Buhari regime is unaware that they have become a laughing stock in the international community, as evidenced by the total absence of any worthy representation at their recent events because the world knows that you are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the so-called Ruga herdsmen settlements being planned nationwide is not an initiative of the Jonathan administration. We did not conceive or budget for it and we know and want nothing to do with it.
“What the Jonathan administration initiated was a ₦100 billion agricultural loan to be disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria for states in Northern Nigeria, who wished to build cattle ranches for modern processing of beef which would then be transported nationwide as beef, rather than cattle rearing.
“Ruga, on the other hand, is not a loan, but a government intervention with public funds in a purely private business, with the attendant acquisition of public land to be used for such private business in perpetuity.
“We also ask Nigerians to witness that even Professor Yemi Osinbajo has washed his hands off the scheme in a statement he released four days ago.
“It will be recalled that on Friday, June 28, 2019, Pastor Osinbajo released a statement saying inter alia ‘Contrary to claims reported in sections of the media, the establishment of Ruga settlements is not being supervised by the Office of the Vice President.’
“After being rejected and denied by the deputy in their own administration, we can, therefore, understand their desperation to look for a scapegoat. However, much as we sympathised with them in their panic, that scapegoat will not be President Jonathan,” the statement read in part.