GEORGE KAJO, Makurdi
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has dismissed insinuations that he supports RUGA by applying for funds meant to implement the policy being forced on Nigerians by the Federal Government.
The Governor insists that the state is only working in line with the recommendations as contained in the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), a document as approved by the National Economic Council, NEC to enhance ranching and not for RUGA settlements.
The Governor gave this clarification Monday, November 1, 2021 while fielding questions from newsmen at the Makurdi Airport on his return from the PDP National Convention in Abuja.
He stated that those who were linking the state with applying for money for RUGA were doing so out of mischief and to twist facts to please their masters and cause problems in the state.
Governor Ortom maintained that the position of the people and Government of Benue state was very clear on the plan to foist RUGA, Cattle Colony, Open Grazing and Farm settlements on the people of the state, all of which have roundly been rejected.
“The position of Benue State is very clear on RUGA, Cattle Colony, Open Grazing and Farm settlements. We have not hidden anything. We have said it openly that we have a law in place prohibiting open grazing. RUGA is another form of open grazing but all in the name of trying to steal and take over our lands. It is the same thing with the cattle colony and we rejected it,” the Governor stated.
“When we were not ready to give them permission for land, they came here and decided to erect one RUGA signpost in Zones A, B and C. We said no and the Benue people went there and pulled down the sign boards.”
The Governor then called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies to go after those who were paid money upfront for RUGA project and recover it since the programme has failed.
Speaking about the just concluded PDP National Convention in Abuja, Governor Ortom expressed optimism that for the party to achieve ninety percent in electing the leaders through consensus, it was clear that it is determined to take over power in 2023.
In his words, “I want to appreciate God Almighty. He gave us the right direction to do what we did during the convention and I want to believe that what we did in Abuja by achieving more than ninety percent consensus in electing leaders of our party is a clear sign that God is on our side and is also a clear sign that we are determined to take over the mantle of leadership from APC come 2023.”
The governor noted that the failure of the APC led Government to unite and build the nation has rather succeeded in destroying the economy, security, our social life and everything you can think of in the past six and half years.
Governor Ortom expressed hope that the new PDP national Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu and other leaders will reach out to the suspended chairman, Uche Secondus in a bid to resolve the differences and put his grievances aside and work for the growth of the party.
On the recent garnishee order placed on the accounts of the Benue State Government, Governor Ortom said the Attorney General was handling that matter and expressed hope that with the facts on ground when tendered, the garnishee order would be lifted.