Governor Otti Reiterates Resolve To Rid Lokpanta Cattle Market Of Criminals

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Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, has restated the State Government’s resolve to rid the popular Lokpanta Cattle Market in Umunneochi of crime and make it non-residential.

Governor Otti said his administration is ready to protect legitimate business persons trading in the market and support such individuals, but made it clear that Government would no longer allow anyone to live inside the market.

The Governor spoke on Sunday, when he paid an unscheduled visit to the Lokpanta Cattle Market, along the Enugu-Umuahia-Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway, while returning to Abia from Enugu State on a private visit.

Governor Otti had stopped by in the market to inspect ongoing perimeter fencing project, aimed at securing the market, which had been a safe heaven for perpetrators of violent crimes, including kidnappers, before they were dislodged by Operation Crush, the multi-agency security task force of Abia State.

He decried the unsanitary condition of the market and admonished the traders on the need to clean up their environment.

“I was just passing bye, and I thought I should stop and see the level of work that is going on here, and I am happy that work is progressing at great speed. I am also happy that you are cooperating with the S.A. (Special Adviser on Security to the Governor) and the Ministry of Lands and Housing, so that we can secure this place.

“I stopped around the abattoir and I found that the place is very dirty and smelly. So, we have to ensure that it is clean because it is what people eat. If they get contaminated, people will fall sick, and you don’t want to sell your cattle, sell your meat and somebody eats it and gets sick. So, you have a responsibility to keep the abattoir and everywhere you are clean.

“The next thing that I want to talk about is the issue of residence here. I’m sure that you are aware that the residents will leave here so that this place will be a market. So, the Government is making plans to locate where you will live.

“So, everyone who is doing a legitimate business, the government will protect you. What we don’t want are criminals. You must fish out every criminal because the day they will attack, they may be attacking you. Criminals don’t ask where you come from, what religion or what language you speak.

“We must rid this place of crime and criminality. Legitimate people who have things to do, we will support you to do your business. So, that is why I stopped here to look at the environment and look at the level of work that has been done and I am impressed that work is going on smoothly,” Governor Otti told the crowd of traders, who milled around him, showering encomiums.

He thanked the traders and their leaders for their cooperation and support to ensure that the State Government’s policy of securing the market and making it non-residential is realised.

“You have supported this government and we are very happy. Like I told you earlier, we are all brothers and sisters, so nobody should discriminate. Do you understand me? Some of you were born here. Your parents were born here. This man (identified as Senator), he came now and was speaking Igbo to me.

“So, let me once again thank you for coming out to welcome me and assure you that this government will protect you, it is your government. You should do everything possible to ensure that there is peace in this place,” said Governor Otti, who had called his audience’s attention with the popular Muslim greeting, Salam alaykum (Peace be upon you).

One of the leaders, who gave his name as Alhaji Danladi, the Chairman of Slaughter (Cattle Market), thanked the Governor for his visit and expressed happiness that the government was interested in the welfare and well-being of the cattle traders.