- The Federal High Court declares Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) and cattle colony in Benue state as unwarranted and illegal
- The court ruled that any move by the federal government to acquire land for RUGA or cattle colony in Benue without the approval of the state government is null and void
- Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon who delivered the judgment grants an order nullifying every action taken to establish RUGA or cattle colony in Benue
The proposed plan by the federal government to set up cattle colonies in some states may have suffered a setback as the Federal High Court has declared Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) and cattle colony in Benue state as unwarranted and illegal.
The court sitting in Makurdi, the Benue state capital ruled that any move by the federal government to acquire land for RUGA or cattle colony in Benue without the approval of the state government “is null and void, The Guardian reports.
Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon who delivered the judgment also granted an order nullifying every action taken to establish RUGA or cattle colony in Benue.
The issue of RUGA has been a contentious matter in the country as many states in Nigeria have opposed the idea.
But the presidency has defended the controversial RUGA settlements programme which the federal government planned to set up in collaboration with some state governments.
According to a statement released by the senior special assistant to the president, Garba Shehu, the initiative was not meant to serve the interest of the Fulani ethnic group alone.
The presidency also stated that Ruga was voluntary,” saying that no state was forced to give up land for the project.
Part of the statement read: “The federal government is planning this in order to curb open grazing of animals that continue to pose security threats to farmers and herders.
“The overall benefit to the nation includes a drastic reduction in conflicts between herders and farmers, a boost in animal protection complete with a value chain that will increase the quality and hygiene of livestock in terms of beef and milk production, increased quality of feeding and access to animal care and private sector participation in commercial pasture production by way of investments."
However, the RUGA policy was reportedly dumped by northern governors, following an emergency meeting on Thursday, September 12.
According to The Nation, the governors instead adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan as the best way to tackle the persistent clashes between herders and farmers in the region.
Legit.ng gatherred that the governors also resolved that they would continue adopting a sustainable and holistic approach towards tackling the region’s security challenges.
At the opening of the emergency meeting, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state, who is the chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum, told newsmen that a committee had been set up by the forum, under the chairmanship of Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina, to develop a comprehensive regional plan of action that can bring lasting solutions to the lingering crises.
Lalong, at the end of the meeting, however, disclosed that the National Livestock Transformation Plan which, according to him, lays out a clear path for modernizing pastoral activities, had been adopted by the forum.
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