The National Butchers Union of Nigeria (NUBN) has appealed to the Oyo State Government and the security agencies to thoroughly investigate the crisis that occurred at Bodija market on Thursday, alleging that their members have been infiltrated by touts and hooligans.
Also, the state government has condoled with the families of those who lost their lives in the fracas, vowing that the perpetrators of the violence will not go scot-free.
The NUBN South Western Coordinator including Kwara, Alhaji Biliaminu Elesinmeta at a news conference involving the butchers union, Bodija Traders and the Oyo State Government Officials, said that the butchers in the state got a favourable deal in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the government on the relocation to the Central Abattoir, Amosun, wondering why some members will be heady on moving and causing unwarranted trouble.
While condoling with the families of those who lost their lives in the mayhem, Alhaji Biliaminu said “we regret what happened in Bodija this morning. The National Executives of our Union as well as the South West Executives were properly briefed when the state chapter of our union was having series of stakeholders’ meeting with the governor.
We saw the MoU and it was quite clear obvious and plain obvious that Oyo State Government meant well for our people.
“What is still baffling us is why some members are causing trouble. Everyone was carried along in the relocation process and the terms and conditions were properly explained. We are also surprised with the mayhem at Bodija Market as our members are law abiding. We do not have touts in our midst and this is why we want to passionately appeal to the government and the security agencies to thoroughly investigate the matter. Our members have been infiltrated as we preach orderliness and peaceful conduct among our members,” the NUBN South Western Coordinator stressed.
In his own address, the Chairman of NUBN in Oyo State, Alhaji Abdul Azeez Alakufon appealed to the recalcitrant members at the Bodija market to heed the government’s directive and relocate to the Central Abattoir at Amosun village, saying that majority of the members of the union have relocated to Amosun village.
Speaking through the Secretary of the Union, Mr. Lateef Olagoke said that the move to relocate to the Central Abattoir, Amosun village predated the present administration, stating that series of stakeholders’ meeting were held before the government sanctioned the relocation.
Mr. Olagoke said that the benefits inherent in butchers using the Central Abattoir will be beneficial to members of the union and the general public as the new place will produce hygienic meat for peoples’ consumption and create jobs for the people, noting that the directive to relocate was not from the union as being alleged in some quarters but from the government after due consultation.
The Secretary alleged that executive members of the union have received many threat letters, explaining “the lives of the executives are not safe as we are being threatened every day. We did not relocate to Amosun village base on government inducement but rather after due consultations and deliberations. We carried our members along and we did not take unilateral decision.
“The action of a minute section of our people is rather appalling as they fail to see the benefits of relocating to Central Abattoir and want to continuously endanger the health of our people. We regret the unfortunate incident at Bodija market and appeal to the security agencies to unmask the perpetrators and make them face the full wrath of the law. We also need protection as our lives are being threatened for wanting the best for the people of the state and stop selling unhealthy meat,” Mr. Olagoke said.
The State Government through the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun while condoling with the families said that the loss of lives through the mayhem was unfortunate, sad and highly regrettable.
According to him, such deaths were needless and avoidable only if people can follow due process and not take laws into their hands, stressing that the mayhem will be thoroughly investigated and perpetrators will not go unpunished.
In his own remarks, the Babaloja of Bodija, Alhaji Sumaila Jimoh appealed to the government to reopen the market as soon as possible, explaining that the market is the only source of livelihood for majority of the traders there.
He urged the NUBN, the government and security agencies to caution butchers at the Bodija Market not to disturb other traders at the market, stressing that the butchers always trespass and hinder free flow of movement in the market with their wares and activities.
Speaking, the Executive Secretary, Bureau of Investment Promotion, Oyo State, Mr. Yinka Fatoki, said that there was no legal slaughter slab or abattoir in Ibadan since 2014 on account of unsanitary circumstances of the major slaughter slabs like Bodija, Aleshinloye and Gege, stating that the government has done everything within its power to make the relocation to Central Abattoir convenient and comfortable for the butchers.