By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
The Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu has called on the federal government to make more consultations with relevant stakeholders for the RUGA policy to succeed, even as he narrated that he implemented the policy when he was governor of Abia state.
This is even as he said the senate will make a Bill to ensure that the
heads of Security agencies are spread across the six geopolitical zones for there to be a sense of belonging to all Nigerians.
This is as the former governor of Abia State, described controversy generated by the now suspended Ruga settlement policy of the federal government as unnecessary.
Kalu made these remarks while answering questions from journalists at the weekend, where he said “In terms of appointments, because the constitution says that every State should have at least one minister.
That is statutory. It is good to also spread the service chiefs which I will like people in the Senate to bring a bill, so we can make a bill that every region must have a Service Chief”, he said.
While the Service Chiefs are the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army of Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Airstaff and the Inspector General of Police , heads of strategic security outfits in this context are those of the Department of State Services (DSS), National Intelligence Agency ( NIA) and political appointees such as National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Minister of Defence.
The Senate Whip however said in as much as appointees in such category are more or less , personal staff of the President , Nigerians should focus attention more on service delivery of whoever is in power than the nature or compositiom of his appointees within the security circle.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari inspite of alleged lopsidedness of appointments being attached to his government, has done more for the South Eastern geo-political zone than any other previous governments in terms of projects execution.
He said, “When you look at it, service chiefs are like personal staff of the president, they are not really constitutionally owned because you only work with military men you trust. That is the truth whether you want to hear that or not.
“I can take you to memory lane on all those that have been heads of State, they just did the same thing the President is doing so there is nothing new. Who was President Obasanjo’s director of SSS? He was Colonel Kayode Aare he was not from my Village, who was President Jonathan’s director of SSS? He was Ekpenyong he was not from my Village.
“So, everybody goes back to his region. He might not be the best but that is the trend because everybody wants to be in control of his security. So this why I see people shout they are marginalised sometimes these things are not real we should look for productive things that would be done by the Government. I don’t care about who is appointed. What I care about is what services are they giving for people to move about their businesses, for people to be secured for people to be saved,for armed robbers to stop harassing people, kidnappers to be tamed and so on and so fort.
“In the area of project execution in the South East for example, the President Muhammadu Buhari led government is doing far, far better than the previous ones conciously voted for by the people of the area.
“The second Niger bridge is coming on board. I can tell you from the seventies , specifically from 1975, every administration has promised the easterners second Niger bridge and the benefit is not only for Easterners it is for the Nigerian people and every other person that came spoke big English and grammar and they did not do anything but President Buhari is implementing it right away.
“So for somebody to say he did not give us minister, we don’t need minister if he can do the Niger bridge, if he can do all the roads and fix other required infrastructure with attendant security for people to go about their lawful runs on daily basis without being molested, harrased , robbed , kidnapped or killed, so be it,” he said.
The recently suspended policy to on Ruga settlement according to him , was not properly marketed to Nigerians , particularly those in the southern and North Central axis.
The policy, he disclosed was perfected implemented by him in Abia State in 2001 when he was Governor without generating any controversy let alone mistrust or suspicion between Abians and their brothers from the North or other categories of Nigerians resident there.
“When people talk about Ruga, I wonder, in 2001 I did a Ruga in Abia.
In Lokpanta I built it and the cows were being sold in Umuahia and Abah. 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 become settlement the same thing with Aba we had an honest meeting with them and agreed that I will provide them land and water electricity, everything but this would be your location. I collected five coaster buses to show them the land and if it is agreeable by everyone.
“I had meting with the communities and they agreed in Lokpanta and that is the biggest cow market both southeast and southsouth of Nigeria today. So it is about the attitude of people to issues.
“Yes, Federal Govwrnment 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 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 cow. I started selling cow as far back as when i was in the university I am still selling cows till tomorrow because it is profitable so most of the cows you see are also not owed by Hausa people.
“We trade on cows. So people should have information because information is power and power is information”, he explained.