Abia butchers protest govt’s plan to close abattoir

Butchers in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, on Sunday, protested the alleged plans by the Abia State Government and its agents to sack them from their abattoir in Ubakala, Umuahia South LGA.

Numbering in their hundreds, the butchers, carrying placards with different inscriptions that reflected their grievances, marched through the streets of Umuahia to the Government House where they laid down their agitation before the Chief Security Officer to Governor Alex Otti, Mr. Ken Nwosu.

According to the butchers’ President, Ngozi Williams, “Some persons, in collaboration with the host community and some government officials, came and sent us out, having fenced some sections of the abattoir, as well as asking us to relocate to Umunneochi.

“We have written to the state government, but have not received any response, instead, the person from inside Government House came and is driving us away. We did not relocate to Ubakala with any land, but a land was given to us by the same state government.

The butchers pleaded to be allowed to remain in the area, having been relocated from Umuahia metropolis to their present site many years ago, stating, “The abattoir had been in Umuahia North for long a time before it was relocated to Umuahia South L.G.A, precisely Mgbarakuma/Amuzu Land in Ubakala, Umuahia South L.G.A by the then military administration led by Col. Ike Nwosu and the then Minister of Agriculture, Adamu Ciroma, in 1994.”

Addressing them, the Chief Security Officer to the state governor, Ken Nwosu, assured the butchers that having received their petition, the state government would immediately look into the matter

He informed them however that matters concerning abattoirs and cemeteries, among others, belong to the local governments, but that because the Otti administration has a human face, it would investigate the matter and commended them for being peaceful in their protest.

When approached, the traditional ruler of Mgbarakuma Autonomous Community, HRH Eze Nwaubani, washed of his hands on the alleged plans to sack the butchers.

However, when contacted, the Special Adviser to Otti, Navy Commander Macdonald Uba, said the state government was only trying to upgrade the hygienic condition of the abattoir by fencing it, providing security gate to the area, providing water as well as providing neat and modern meat slabs, compared with what the butchers had been using in a dirty environment.

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