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Archbishop Martins warns FG against forceful acquisition of lands for RUGA

LAGOS — CATHOLIC Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, yesterday, admonished the Federal Government to jettison the idea of acquiring lands across the country for the purpose of creating rural grazing areas.

Archbishop Martins
Archbishop Adewale Martins

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In a statement, the Archbishop, while commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his bold step in suspending the RUGA project, also urged him to resist the temptation of going back to it or any similar project.

The cleric said: “At the moment, we gathered that despite the suspension of the RUGA scheme, there is a plan by some people to move for the repeal the Land Use Act in order to accommodate the scheme. Any step in that direction will leave no one in doubt that the Government is really not interested in settling the so-called herdsmen/farmer clashes.

“A bill to tamper with the present land use arrangement at this time cannot but heat up the polity, if indeed, it is being contemplated.

“Any proposed solution to the problem should be put in the public domain for discussion so that it may have the desired effect. It is not enough for the Federal Executive Council, National Economic Council or any other organ of government to sit in a room and take the decision without sampling the opinion of citizens, given the volatile nature of the issues at stake.

“It is even more ridiculous that a ministry without a substantive Minister is presuming to announce and implement such a monumental decision. The RUGA Scheme as presently conceived for implementation is ill-conceived and skewed to create disaffection and divide the country and must be totally abandoned so that a better solution to the problem can be reached.”

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