Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, has stated the state government’s position on the suspended RUGA settlements for herdsmen, being proposed by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Kalu stated that there was no RUGA settlement existing anywhere in Abia State.
The Commissioner made the clarification, while interacting with some journalists at International Conference Centre Umuahia, during the flagging-off of 2019 Farming Season held in the state.
According to the Commissioner “we do not have any RUGA settlement in Abia State and we do not intend to have RUGA settlements in Abia State.
What we have are cattle markets such as the one at Lokpanta and Waterside Aba cattle market.”
He said Abia State does not even have enough land for agriculture and other uses not to talk of ceding any part of the state for cattle colony or RUGA settlement.
The Commissioner, regretted a statement recently credited to the current Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, representing Abia North district, that Abia had a RUGA settlement, when he was serving as the state governor.
Kalu disclosed that no cattle colony or RUGA existed in State.He explained,
Cattle rearing is a private business and should strictly be seen in that light.
He maintained that if cattle herders find Abia grasses good for their cattle, Abia farmers could grow the grasses the more and sell the grasses to them in exchange for money or cows.
The PDP chieftain emphasized , “Cattle owners are expected to transport their animals to the state using trailers or trains, when available, and offload same only inside the designated cattle markets in the state.”
Chief John Okiyi Kalu revealed that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has taken agriculture in the state to a higher level with many innovations introduced, including the new emphasis on value adding to primary agricultural products from the state, stating that hosting of the National Farming Season programme in the State is an acknowledgement of what the Governor has done in agriculture.