From PETER OKORE, Umuahia
Following the attack on traders and their cattle at the newly created cattle market and Abattoir located at Omuma-Uzor in Ukwa-West Local government area of Abia state, Tuesday, 15th February, 2022 at about 11:35pm, Abia state government said it has set-up a high-powered investigation to fish-out those who carried out the action.
This is also as the state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikeazu disclosed, Thursday, 17th February, 2022, that preliminary investigations show that the dastardly act was not carried out by youths of the immediate communities, pointing out that the investigation further hinted that the youths were even the ones who assisted the victims after the attack.
Ikpeazu spoke when he visited the site of the incident, Thursday, in company of some stakeholders and prominent personalities from the Local government Area for on the spot assessment of the Cattle market and Abattoir, where yet to be identified hoodlums, who were alleged to have arrived the scene in buses to carry-out the attack, some days ago.
He assured that the investigation will be deep and all those involved would be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the Land.
Governor Ikpeazu further hinted that government is not going back with her decision of locating the cattle market and Abattoir there. He said he would fortify security there by contacting relevant authorities to establish a military Base and other security Units in the area as well as re-enforcing the perimeter fencing round the new market and Abattoir. He said Government will do all within its powers to forestall such incident in the future.
He, however, sympathized with victims of the attack and assured that government would continue to find a way to provide succor to those who lost their property to enable them continue with their businesses.
”I will meet with key stakeholders from this area this weekend on this issue and chart other safety and security measures for this market.”
It will be recalled that this incident occurred barely a couple of weeks after Abia state government shut down the Abattoir and the Ahia Udele, located at the Waterside area of Ogbor Hill, Aba and relocated the Abattoir to Omuma Uzor, while those in Ahia Udele were directed to move-over to the Good Morning Market, Aba.
The new abattoir was Tuesday, 15th February, 2022 at about 11:35pm attacked by some yet to be identified hoodlums who invaded traders at the New Cattle Market and inflicted harms and are now posing serious threats to those residing in the area.
Following the death of un-confirmed number of people crushed by a truck that crashed into the Abattoir and Ahia Udelle market which led to colossal loss in men and materials, the Abia state government was compelled to relocate the markets to safer areas.
Sources said that a truck bearing a container was alleged to have lost control and crashed into a market and killed some people, mostly tricycle operators.
For business to resume normal operations, the commissioner for Trade and Investments Mr. John Okiyi assured the traders that the new abattoir would be ready for use “later this month”, pointing out that his ministry “will do everything possible to ensure that (affected traders and butchers) are properly settled to continue doing their businesses within a safer and healthier environment.”
But behold, not long after the new cattle market was attacked leading to another loss of lives and materials, amid heavy movement of men and materials into the area. Now both traders and host communities live in fear of being attacked again and have either abandoned the area or have escaped to neighbouring villages for safety of their lives and their businesses
Sources say that the swift response of Abia state government by mobilizing the various Security agencies to the scene that night to secure the lives and properties of innocent traders brought a significant relieve to the area.
A press statement by the state commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Eze Chikamnayo sad that on Wednesday, some members of the state executive and the Chairman of Ukwa West LGA, in company of the State Commissioner of Police, CP Janet Agbede visited the site of the incident.
According to the statement:”We are shocked and saddened by this mindless and barbaric act of violence that claimed the lives of about 8 innocent citizens of our great country and we totally condemn this dastardly act together with it’s wicked perpetrators.
“We are working assiduously to provide succour to the families of the victims. Those who sustained injuries are currently receiving medical attention. We have equally started the immediate relocation of the traders while working out compensation for lost properties. We shall leave no stone unturned to ensure that the evil perpetrators are brought to justice.
“While waiting for the outcome of ongoing investigations by our diligent Security Forces, the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu together with all Abians pray for God to grant the families of victims the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
“We urge all citizens of our great country in Abia State to remain law abiding and promptly report any suspicious movements to the appropriate authorities”, the statement said