- Governor Samuel Ortom has said that there is no reserved plots of land for the federal government's proposed Ruga settlement
- Ortom stressed that the Benue state government will not take part in the settlement plan for herdsmen in the country
- However, he mentioned that whoever intends to build a ranch in the state should follow the procedure stipulated by the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment Law 2017
The governor of Benue, Samuel Ortom, has responded to an alleged claim by the federal government that there are some reserved lands across the federation said to be used for the proposed Ruga settlement.
Ortom, in a statement made available to Legit.ng on Monday, July 1, said that there are no such lands in Benue.
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He, however said that the only condition for ranches to be built in the state is if the process follows the procedure stipulated by the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of 2017.
"We read the statement issued yesterday by senior special assistant to the president on media & publicity, Garba Shehu, in which the presidency stated that it has gazetted lands in the 36 states of the federation to establish Ruga settlements for herdsmen.
"Part of the statement read: "It is true that government at the centre has gazetted lands in all states of the federation...
"We wish to make it clear that no land in Benue state has been gazetted for grazing routes, grazing reserves, cattle colonies and Ruga settlements, contrary to the presidency's claim.
"We expect the federal government to publicly tender documents of the claimed gazetted lands in Benue state to put the matter to rest.
"The federal government should show titles to the lands it claims to have in Benue state, the evidence of compensation it paid to owners of such lands, as well as the purpose for which the lands were acquired.
"The Benue state government has already made known its stand on the Ruga settlements matter that the state will not be part of the project.
"This was why the government and people of the state rejected the attempt to impose the Ruga settlements projects on them without the consent and approval of the governor who controls and administers all lands in the state in trust for the people.
"We wish to restate that there is a law in Benue state which encourages ranching and prohibits open grazing of livestock. The law is a win-win for herders and farmers, as it protects all.
"Anyone who intends to establish a livestock ranch in Benue state is encouraged to follow the procedure stipulated by the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017."
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that hundreds of youth in Benue on Friday, June 28, took to the streets in protest against the federal government’s planned Ruga farms for herdsmen.
The youth protested days after Ortom rejected the move by the federal government. The protesters from the various communities in the state including Zaki-Biam in Ukum local council, Otobi in Otukpo local government were armed with placards with carrying various inscriptions.
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