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Give us security, not eviction, cattle dealers beg Gov Otti

The Northern community living inside the Umuchieze Cattle Market in Umunneochi Local Government Area has rejected the eviction order by the Abia State Government. The…

The Northern community living inside the Umuchieze Cattle Market in Umunneochi Local Government Area has rejected the eviction order by the Abia State Government.

The Abia State Government plans to make the market a daily one that operates from 6am to 6pm like other markets and not a residential area as part of measures to checkmate the insecurity problems associated with the cattle market.

Speaking with Daily Trust Saturday in Umuahia, the spokesperson of the Northern group, Mallam Buba Abdullahi Kedemure, said the plan to fence the market on the 80 hectares of land “will not work.”

Kedemure said that asking them to live outside the cattle market, which they have occupied since 2005 translates to asking them to leave Abia State as it was not practicable for the 15,000 members of the Northern community to live among the natives.

“If the government will fence the market, demolish our houses, urge us to go and live in the neighbouring villages, it means the government has automatically chased us away from Abia State,” he said.

He said “it is also an attempt to subvert the constitution and fanning the embers of disunity.”

The statement, signed by 14 market leaders and cattle traders, including the chairman, Alhaji Saleh Algare, and the secretary general, Auwal Hamma, dwelt on the various issues arising from the government’s plan to make the cattle market a non-residential, general-purpose market.

He stated that “it is unjust, unfair and ungodly for anyone to prevent any Nigerian, irrespective of tribe and religious affiliation from staying in any part they desire to stay in Nigeria.”

According to him, most of the cattle traders living inside the cattle market were born and brought up in Abia hence they have no other state than Abia.

Reacting to the rejection order by the northern community, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mr Ferdinand Ekeoma, said the government has no intention of evicting the Northern community out of the state, rather plans to modernise the market by making it a daily market where business activities begin by 6am and end by 6pm.

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