Benue State government on Monday stated that the Federal government does not have any gazetted land in the state.
Governor Samuel Ortom stated this through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, in reaction to a statement credited to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, in which the Presidency stated that it had gazetted lands in the 36 states of the federation to establish Ruga settlements for herdsmen.
“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.”
Ortom who insisted that the state government had already made known its stand on the Ruga settlements matter, noted that the state would not be part of the project and urged 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 the owners of such lands, as well as the purpose for which the lands were acquired.”
He explained that 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,” the statement read in part.