By Patrick Obia
The Senator representating Cross River South senatorial district in the 9th Assembly, Senator Gershom Bassey, has added his voice to calls for the permanent suspension of the proposed establishment of Rural Grazing Areas otherwise known as (RUGA) by the Federal Government.
The Senator argued that Cattle rearing is a private business and should be allowed to remain a strictly private sector affair.
Senator Bassey who also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for suspending the controversial RUGA policy said the suspension should be permanent since it had already been rejected by many states and Nigerians at large.
The Federal lawmaker who was the deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources in the 8th Senate, in an interview with journalists in Abuja, added that;
“A lot of people who are far more experienced and knowledgeable in this matter (Cattle business) have proferred workable solutions like ranching”. “But I think the key thing from my take away is that this is a private sector matter. It is essentially a private sector matter and not a public sector matter and therefore solutions should be tailored to creating enabling environment and also taking people’s liberties into account.
“So, these are not things you can decree or you can force people to do. There are things that are done voluntarily like we do in the private sector. In the private sector there is the issue of demand and supply and if people want something a need is created for that thing but if people don’t want that thing, there is no need to try to force it down their throat.”
“So, I think there must be a wider conversation and at the end of the day, the good news is that the President is listening. So that is a good step in the right direction.”
He commended President Buhari for being sensitive to the yearnings of the people on what he described as ”a very unpopular policy” by listening to the populace, the electorate and taking the proper steps which was to suspend the RUGA Settlements policy.
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