The government of Abia State has directed relevant agencies of government to ensure that they scrutinize and ascertain the purpose behind the sale of any portion land above five hectares in the state.
It could recall that the federal government after Nigerians rejected its proposal for the establishment of RUGA settlement for herders, decided to suspend the idea because of the dust it had raised.
In Abia State however, the dust is yet to settle, as some residents are alleging that some powers that be in the state are conspiring to buy land for such purpose by proxy.
In what seems to be a pro-active step in checking such, the state government through its Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General Mr. Uche Ihediwa, while briefing newsmen on Abia government’s stance on land-use planning stated that state government’s policy has made it mandatory for applications for Certificate-of-Occupancy for land above five hectares to be honoured or declined, depending on the purpose the land would be put into.
Ihediwa said: “With the present dispensation, any request for land will have to be scrutinized.
“The state government’s policy is to scrutinize it and make sure that it is not something that is convertible into Ruga.
“We have gone ahead to sensitize our communities to be sure that nobody sells large quantity of land.
“There is a standing instruction in the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Planning that sale of any land above five hectares will be scrutinized.’’
According to the State’s Attorney General, the Town and Country Planning Law allows the revocation of any piece of land which had not been used for the purpose it was acquired for.
He said that there was no truth in the allegations that the state government secretly gave out land for Ruga settlement in Arungwa in Osisioma Local Government Area of the state.
According to him, “Sometime in September 2014, the Federal Ministry of Works, Transport and Housing requested for land to build a trailer park.
“There was nothing untoward about the request by the Federal Government under the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
“They were looking for 50 hectares of land in that place but we went round and discovered it was only 20 hectares.”
He said that the negotiation was subsequently aborted and the land penciled down for a car assembly plant.
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Ihediwa said that the Land Use Act was clear on the processes and procedures for acquiring land for any purpose. The attorney-general therefore said that there was no Ruga settlement in Abia.