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Cattle market: Northern traders cry out over Abia ‘eviction’ threat

Leaders of northern traders at Lobbanta Garke Cattle Market in Umunneochi LGA of Abia State have begged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Sultan of Sokoto,…

Leaders of northern traders at Lobbanta Garke Cattle Market in Umunneochi LGA of Abia State have begged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar ll to intervene by calling on the Abia State government to withdraw a 14-day ultimatum issued to them to vacate the market.

Vice Chairman of the Cattle Traders, Lobbanta, Buba Abdullahi Kedemure who led other leaders to the office of the National Consensus Movement (NCM) in Kaduna said they were there to complain over the eviction notice issued to them by the Abia State government to leave the market.

The vice chairman said they have been law abiding citizens doing their lawful businesses for years in the state before the ultimatum issued to them to vacate over alleged harbouring of criminals in their midst which they denied.

“We are appealing to our leaders to intervene and call the governor to withdraw the 14-day ultimatum for us to leave,” he said.

National President of the Northern Consensus Movement (NCM), Dr. Auwal Abdullahi, expressed his determination not to stand idly while Northern traders face humiliation and disgrace in Abia or any other part of the Eastern states.

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He reminded the Abia State government and other Southeastern governors that Igbos own businesses worth billions of Naira in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and all other Northern states, where they face no harassment.

Auwal said their main role is to protect the interests of the North and Northerners within the ambit of the law. He therefore called on the governor of Abia State to withdraw the 14-day ultimatum given to Northerners conducting legitimate businesses in the Garke Cattle Market, Abia State.

Auwal also restated that the eviction threat is detrimental to both sides, given the significant number of Eastern residents conducting legitimate businesses in the North without harassment or intimidation by any Northerner.

He expressed concern that the governor’s actions could fuel suspicions of conspiracy theories aimed at inciting civil unrest in the country, potentially leading to Northern youths considering revenge.

He further called on President Tinubu and all Northern leaders to intervene in the matter, urging the Abia State governor to halt further actions; otherwise, they may have no choice but to call on all Northerners residing in the Eastern part of the country to return home and simultaneously ask Igbo residents in the North to relocate to their states in the Eastern region.

Reacting to the development yesterday, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Navy Commander MacDonald Ubah (retd.), who addressed the press Monday in Umuahia, dismissed the rumour as “fake, unfounded and mischievous”.

He accused those behind the rumour of twisting an honest directive by government to create confusion and blackmail the Governor Alex Otti.

He explained that the governor never ordered Northerners at the cattle market to quit but only gave directives that the market would no longer operate at night based on security reports.

“Lokpanta/Uturu axis has been under siege before we came on board, and government decided to contain the spate of insecurity especially kidnaping in the area.”

The SA who said that “all intelligence reports” received by government pointed at the cattle market as the breeding ground for most of the insecurity incidents in the region, accused the cattle dealers in the market of allowing criminals to infiltrate the market.

He said that according to intelligence reports, many of the ransoms for kidnapping were traced to the market .

Navy Commander Uba (retd) insisted that government had decided to make the cattle market a day market as obtained in other major markets in the country as part of necessary security measures to curb infiltration by criminals.

The SA said that Governor Otti “is not tribalistic and does not believe in state of origin” and could not have given such order.

He, therefore, urged cattle dealers and other traders in the market to comply with the Government directive which is for the good of all.

 

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