The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has commended the annulment of the Ruga settlement acquisition by the Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi.
The governor made this commendation in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase. He said the ruling vindicated the consistent position of Benue State on the matter.
“By today’s verdict, the judiciary has once again proved that it is indeed a beacon of hope for democracy with its attendant attributes such as equity, fairness and the rule of law,” he said.
According to the court, any move by the Federal Government to compulsorily acquire land for Ruga settlement or cattle colony in Benue State without the approval of the Benue State Government would be considered null and void.
The court made this declaration on Monday after a lawsuit was filed by the State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Micheal Gusa, against the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as the Minister of Agriculture.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon declared the Federal Government’s policy on Ruga settlement in Benue State as “unwarranted, unlawful and unconstitutional.”
He issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Attorney-General, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Minister of Agriculture, their agents, privies, servants or whosoever, from making any attempt to hold, administer, use or allocate land in Benue State for Ruga settlement, cattle colonies or any other purpose contrary to the 1999 Constitution, the Land Use Act and the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.