Benue, Cross River, Ekiti join South-East, Ondo, Taraba to reject Ruga settlements

…Edo PDP threatens court action as Obaseki mulls Ruga support

Benue, Cross River, Ekiti states have joined the South East region in rejecting he controversial Ruga Settlement programme being proposed by the Federal Government to arrest the intractable farmers-herders crisis across the country.

The Presidency had on Sunday said the settlement will be in an organised place with provision of necessary and adequate basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets and manufacturing entities that will process and add value to meats and animal products.

The Ruga pilot projects are in Sokoto, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kogi, Taraba, Katsina, Plateau, Kebbi, Zamfara and Niger.

Apart from the South-East,  Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Ondo State government have also rejected the Ruga settlements, saying they would not give out their land for herdsmen’s settlements in their states.

Benue State government have also restated its opposition to the programme.

Governor Samuel Ortom, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, said contrary to Presidency’s claim, no land in Benue State has been gazetted for grazing routes, grazing reserves, cattle colonies and Ruga settlements.

Ortom who insisted that Benue has already made known its opposition to Ruga settlements matter, challenged the Federal Government to publicly tender documents of the claimed gazetted lands in Benue State to put the matter to rest.

But in Edo State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has vowed to go to court if Governor Godwin Obaseki failed to renege on his purported plans to cede parts of the state’s land for Ruga settlement.

State chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih, who disclosed the party’s position in Benin said it was bent on ensuring the interest of people of the state is protected to the letter.

“This issue of Ruga settlement can be likened to the situation where you carry pigs from the south to a Muslim community and you say you want to create a space for people who engage in piggery to do their farms in a Muslim community. That is the same way it is for us in Edo State.

“So, if the governor decides to go ahead in spite of the opposition by the good people of Edo State, we feel heavily heartbroken. You can be rest assured that we will take all available steps to protect the interest of our people. You cannot rule out our position to take a legal action if he decides to go ahead,” he stressed.

In his reaction, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, vowed that nobody coming from outside the state will be allowed to take over land from its people.

He said non-indigenes wishing to do business in the state must respect the culture of the indigenous people and pursue their interest in line with the law of the land.

Fayemi said: “The governor of Ekiti State has power over the land of Ekiti and it is the person that the governor gives land in Ekiti that can use the land of Ekiti. If there are negative comments being peddled around that some people are coming to take over Ekiti land, take over Orin land, take over Ido land, it’s a mere hearsay.

“It cannot happen in Ekiti except I am no longer the governor of Ekiti State and there is nobody that can be governor in Ekiti that will cede Ekiti land to outsiders because our land is not even enough for us.”

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