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  • News - South East - Abia
  • Updated: February 21, 2024

Eviction: Abia government reacts to butchers’ protest

Eviction: Abia government reacts to butchers’ protest

The Abia government has formally reacted to the protest by the Umuahia Butchers Association over speculations that it plans to relocate the abattoir to another area.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the government described the protest as ill-conceived, saying there was no truth in the speculation.

The butchers took to the streets of the state capital last Thursday over an alleged plot by the government “to forcefully evict them” from the abattoir at Mgbarakuma Community, near Umuahia.

They alleged that the community and the special adviser to the governor on security, Macdonald Uba, hatched the plot.

The protesters, who marched through the major streets of Umuahia, ended up at the Government House in Umuahia, displaying placards with different inscriptions, with inscriptions like ‘Save us, our governor’, ‘Ministry of Lands, Garki land is not for sale, please leave us’, and ‘Abia people, slaughter Garki is not for sale’.

In an interview with journalists, the association’s president, Ngozi Williams, said the abattoir had existed at Mgbarakuma since 1994. According to Williams, the host community had attempted to force them out of the abattoir in the last two years.

He also said about a month ago, the governor’s aide started fencing the abattoir, claiming that the place had been sold to him by the government.

He said that the development had affected their businesses and appealed to the government to help them.

But reacting to the protest and allegations by the association, the community’s traditional ruler, Eze Ebere Ubani, said that the butchers were not asked to leave the abattoir.

Ubani also said the association sought ways to divert people’s attention from the actual issue. Also, the security adviser to the governor described the allegations made by the butchers as “spurious.”

He said the construction works in the market were meant to improve the state of the abattoir and not to evict the butchers.

The chief security officer to the governor, Ken Nwosu, who received the protesters at the Government House, appealed to them to be peaceful and law-abiding.

Nwosu said protecting people’s interests remained paramount in the government’s agenda.

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