Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on Monday challenged the Federal Government to show proof of gazetted land in the state.
Ortom said this in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase.
The governor was reacting to an earlier statement by Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
Shehu had said that the Federal Government had gazetted lands in all the states of the federation.
But the governor said that there has never been any land for grazing reserve nor grazing route in the state.
Part of the statement read, “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.
“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.”
The governor restated his stand that there was a law in the 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,” Ortom said.