Former Abia State governor, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has said he implemented RUGA settlement policy in the state without any controversy and therefore advised the federal government to do serious extensive consultation before implementation of any policy in order to avoid crises.
Senator Kalu, who is now the Senate Chief Whip, said the noise generated by the recently suspended federal government policy on RUGA settlement, according to him was not properly marketed to Nigerians, particularly those in the South and North Central axis.
According to him, the policy was perfectly implemented in 2001 without generating any controversy let alone mistrust or suspicion between Abians and herdsmen, the Voice of Nigeria reports.
“When people talk about RUGA, I wonder: in 2001 I did a RUGA in Abia. In Lokpanta, I built it and the cows were sold in Umuahia and Aba. In 2001, I invited the Hausa community and they said Umuahia and Aba we needed to decongest.
“Where we have Shoprite in Umuahia today used to be a settlement, the same thing with Aba we had an honest meeting with them and agreed that I will provide land, water, and electricity for them. I collected five coaster buses to show them the land and if it is agreeable by everyone.
“I had meetings with the communities and they agreed in Lokpanta and that is the biggest cow market in both South East and South South of Nigeria today. So, it is about the attitude of people to issues.
“Yes, the federal government should always do very serious and extensive consultation whenever they want to embark on such issues. It is not just to go and put a deliberate policy and say I want to do RUGA. People in the village don’t understand what RUGA means; they will panic and say they want to kill all of them.
“Some of us are the largest sellers of cows. I started selling cow as far back as when I was in university. I am still selling cows because it is profitable so most of the cows you see are also not owned by Hausa people.
“We trade in cows. So, people should have information because information is power and power is information,” he explained.