Benue State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has strongly opposed the planned establishment of Ruga settlements in the state insisting that Benue has no land for such project.
Briefing newsmen at the NUJ House in Makurdi on Monday, state Chairman of CAN, Rev. Akpen Leva, maintained that the Ruga settlements which the Federal government is trying to force on the people have no relevance to the people of the state.
“As farmers, we have come to the naked reality that the land in Benue cannot even satisfy the farming community in the state for the production of crops and this cannot be shared with cattle rearers for the purpose of Ruga settlements.
“We are baffled and taken aback as to why the Federal government has not done anything to resettle the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Benue State and has gone ahead to propose Ruga settlement.
“Deriving from that, we feel that the Federal government is showing no concern about the sufferings of the IDPs and the hardship it has brought on the government of Benue and people of the state.
“It is pathetic that the survivors of the herdsmen killings are still in IDP camps. This, as observed, has not constituted an iota of concern to the Federal government. As can be seen, we are propelled to wonder why some Nigerians in Nigeria are more Nigerian than others.”
While positing that the constitution of Nigeria empowers the state governments and gives them authority over land matters under the Land Use Act, the association maintained that there was no reason why the Federal government would have come up with a policy to antagonise the constitutional provision.
“We want to remind the Federal government and the necessary authorities concerned 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 and authorities concerned to have known that policies like Ruga settlement for herdsmen’ would contravene the laws of the land.
“This is why as a church in Benue State, we reject Ruga settlement for herdsmen proposed in the state. Benue, we emphasise, has no land for Ruga settlement.”