Abia State government has introduced a policy directing relevant agencies to scrutinize the purpose behind the sale of any portion land above five hectares in the state, in a bid to prevent the suspended rural grazing area (Ruga) policy from sneaking in through the backdoor.
Specifically, the state government restricted the size of land that may be sold “over the counter” to five hectares.
It said lots of land above five hectares must now be approved by relevant government agencies.
Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Uche Ihediwa, told reporters in Umuahia yesterday that the measure seeks to prevent landowners from selling large swathes of land that may be used for “unauthorized projects, including cattle settlements by herdsmen.”
“The state government’s policy is to scrutinise it and make sure that it is not something that is convertible into Ruga.
“We have gone ahead to sensitise our communities to be sure that nobody sells large quantity of land.
Ihediwa, who is the immediate past commissioner for land, also debunked insinuations that a Federal Government request for a proposed trailer park at Osisioma was meant for the RUGA program.
“No land has been allocated for RUGA in the state and no land has been approved and allocated for the trailer park with respect to the application filed by the Federal Ministry of Works in 2014,” he clarified.
According to him, the clarification became necessary following the recent call by the Northern Elders Forum urging herdsmen to abandon the south over alleged threats to their safety by governors and other stakeholders in the region.