The Benue State Government has said that there is no land in the state that has been gazetted for grazing routes, grazing reserves, cattle colonies and Ruga settlements.
The Presidency had earlier claimed in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu that lands have been gazetted in the 36 states of the federation to establish Ruga settlements for herdsmen.
Chief Press Secretary to Benue State Governor, Terver Akase, in a reaction to the statement, asked the FG to publicly tender documents of the claimed gazetted lands in Benue State.
“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.
“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.”
Mr Akase also restated the position of the Benue Government on the Ruga project, adding that pieces of evidence of compensation should be provided by the Federal Government.
“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.”
He added that any persons, who intend to set up a livestock ranch, should do so based on the position of the law.
“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.”