We have been inundated with calls, messages, enquiries and our attention drawn to reports in various newsblogs to the effect that Abia State Government intends to establish RUGA settlement in Obehie. In simple sentence, that information is false, malicious and profound attempt by some persons or group to pitch the government against the people.
2. At the inception of the Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu’s administration in 2015, it was obvious that the eyesore which cattle trading around Waterside Aba posed needed a decisive attention
2. In all honesty, what government sought to achieve was to relocate the (Ahia Udele) aka cattle market at Waterside to a more accommodating and accesible site where trading will be less hazardous and more environment friendly.
3. The menace of cattles, the indescriminate pollution of the Aba River and contamination of air became a huge source of worry.
4. Nearly everybody who lived in Aba, passed through waterside or voted for decent environment agreed that the famous “Ahia Udele” and it’s sister Cattle Trading site at Waterside were long over due for relocation.
5. The Muslim community led by *Chief Musa Alhaji Iheakaram and Chairman of Cattle Dealers Alhaji Ibrahim Njida* were desirous of ending the menace at Waterside provided government would graciously give them alternative place to continue trading peacefully like they had done in the over 50 years they have traded at Aba Waterside
6. By September 2016, government had through the Ministry of Lands inspected possible sites for relocation of the cattle market at Waterside.
7. All that part of land at Egbelu, Umuopara Obehie in Ukwa West Local Government contained in area measuring 107074.43 square meters was duly revoked by the State Government in Revocation Order 2017 for the purpose of relocating the Cattle Market at Waterside.
8. It is important to note that the proposed host community asked elaborate questions and were assured that the land in their community will serve the purpose of cattle trading, which that within Waterside has served over 50 (fifty) years.
9. The Okezie Ikpeazu led administration vehemently opposes the use of any part of land in Abia for the establishment of RUGA settlement, hence it’s prompt signing into law, the bill that sought to prohibit grazing and trekking of cattles in Abia.
10. What the Ministry of Trade and Investment proposed was a trading place more accommodating than what we had at Waterside, a market place that would offer opportunities to diverse allied produce as it is applicable in Umuchieze Cattle Market.
11. It is unfortunate that those who trade in rumour and false information would assume that a cattle market is same as RUGA settlement.
12. While we commend the Governor for mustering sufficient political will to recover Aba Waterside from years of menace, it is only acceptable that we support this germane effort that seeks to save lives, improve our hygiene and make trading less hazardous.
13. The relocation of Cattle Market from Aba Waterside to Obehie will beyond anything else ensure that motorists and pedestrians are saved from struggling with cattles every morning, afternoon and evening at Aba Waterside.
14. God bless us as we look beyond parochial interests and engage expansion investment that will attract merchandize across Abia and River-state
Attached Pix: site of present situation in waterside.
Rt. Hon. Cosmos Ndukwe Ph.D
Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Trade and Investment