… The Court Judgement Has Vindicates Us… Ortom
From Msurshima Andrew, Makurdi
A Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi, has declared the federal
government policy to establish RUGA Settlement and cattle colonies in
Benue State as unwarranted, unlawful and unconstitutional.
The Court presided over by Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon gave this
judgement in the suit filed by the Attorney General and Commissioner
for Justice, Benue State, Barrister Michael Gusa against the Attorney
General of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development and the Minister of Agriculture.
Delivering the judgement on Monday, Justice Olajuwon declared that 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 is null and void.
The judge also granted an order nullifying every action or decisions
taken to establish RUGA Settlement or cattle colonies for herdsmen in
Justice Olajuwon further issued an order of perpetual injunction
restraining the Attorney General, 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.
The judge held that by section 1 of the Land Use Act of 1978,
ownership of land in any state of the federation is vested on the
governor of the state and only the governor has the right to grant
statutory right of occupancy to any person.
In his reaction, the Chief Press secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom,
Mr. Terver Akase said the court judgement has vindicated the
consistent position of Benue State on the matter.
Akase said, ‘the judgment by the Federal High Court in Makurdi which
declared Ruga settlements as illegal has vindicated the consistent
position of Benue State on the matter.
“When Governor Samuel Ortom led his people to reject the proposed Ruga
settlement model, he was not doing so for personal reasons. It was a
struggle by the people of the state and other Nigerians of good
conscience against impunity and injustice.
“By this 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.
“The truth has ultimately prevailed on the Ruga settlements issue in
the interest of the entire country.
Akase expressed Governor Ortom’s commendation of President Muhammadu
Buhari who directed the suspension of the proposed Ruga project last
He reassured the people that the Ortom led administration will
continue to encourage those who wish to invest in agriculture
including animal husbandry, according to the laws of the land.