From Nnaya Okemini, Umuahia
Gov Okezie Ikpeazu
Abia state government has vowed that it will not concede even a millimetre of land to the suspended federal government’s controversial Rural Gracing Area (RUGA) programme for now or in the future.
The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon Uche Ihediwa stated this while speaking to newsmen in Umuahia, the capital, saying the administration remains resolute on the issue.
Ihediwa was reacting to a media report that the state has allocated land for the suspended RUGA at Arongwa in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area, near Aba the commercial hub of the state.
He said the land had earlier been approved for the federal government for the construction of a trailer park for Aba in 2014, adding that unfortunately the project was stalled due to insufficient space.
“Rather than allow it to be put out of use, the present administration decided to use it to build a car assembly plant attracted by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu from China,” he explained.
According to the former Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, the administration stands with the South East zone in rejecting the RUGA out of security concern and paucity of land.
The Commissioner condemned the report, which he said emanated from the state even after the administration has made it’s position on the RUGA known, calling on the people to disregard it in its entirety.
He explained that due to the fears raised across the country over the RUGA, the administration has resolved that sale of any property in the state in excess of five hectres must be approved by the government.
Ihediwa, who lauded the people for their concern for the security of lives and property, denied that a former administration in the state established a RUGA in Umunneochi Local Government Area.
According to the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Barrister Onyebuchi Ememanka, while adding his voice to the issue, the claim is to far from the truth.
His explanation, “For the avoidance of doubts, the truth of the matter is that what exists there is known as Umuchieze Cattle Market and is like what is obtained in other parts of the country.
He said, “And come to think of it, though there are some northerners living and transacting their businesses there, the market is under the management and control of the state.”