Policy irrelevant, anti-Benue people, says CAN
The Benue State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said that recent Federal Government’s agricultural policies on open grazing, opening of cattle routes, cattle colonies and Ruga settlements were not only irrelevant, but also against Benue people.
State chairman of CAN, Reverend Akpen Leva, condemned the policies during a media briefing at the NUJ House, Makurdi yesterday.
He explained that as farmers, Benue people have realised that land was not even enough for the farming community to produce crops, not to talk of sharing it with cattle breeders for Ruga settlements.
Leva who drew Federal Government’s attention to unambiguity of the Nigeria’s constitution, which gives governors authority over land, stressed that the Land Use Act is clear on the issue and wondered why government has come up with a policy to against constitutional provision.
“We want to remind the Federal Government and the all relevant authorities that we are law abiding citizens and we respect constituted authorities.
“As law abiding citizens, we are aware of the law prohibiting open grazing in Benue State. We also expect the Federal Government and all its agencies to know that policies like Ruga settlement for herdsmen would contravene the laws of the land.
“This is why as the Church in Benue State, we reject Ruga settlement for herdsmen as proposed. Benue, we stress, has no land for Ruga settlement,” he added.
He argued that even in the much talked about grazing reserves, there was none in Benue State, saying, it was difficult to understand why the Federal Government was imposing a similar project on the state when it was not part of it in the first instance.
CAN restated that it was surprised as to why the Federal Government has not done anything to resettle internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Benue State but was now prioritising its propose Ruga settlements in the state.
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