A Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi has declared the plan of the Federal Government to establish RUGA Settlement and cattle colonies in Benue State as unlawful and unconstitutional.
Delivering judgement on Monday, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon said any move by the government to compulsorily acquire land for RUGA Settlement or cattle colony in Benue State without the approval of the Benue State government was null and void.
The suit was 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.
The judge granted an order nullifying every action or decisions taken to establish RUGA Settlement or cattle colonies for herdsmen in Benue State.
Justice Olajuwon further issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Attorney General of the Federation, 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.
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.
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