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Against the backdrop of the policy of the Abia State government to make the Lokpanta Cattle Market in Umunneochi LGA of the state a daily market as well as non-residential, the Northern Community in the market, has appealed to the state government to build residential quarters for them in or around Okigwe metropolis to serve as a residential area for them.
Alhaji Saleh Algave who is the chairman of the Cattle Dealers Association, Lokpanta, sent this appeal when the Special Adviser to Governor Alex Otti on Security, Navy Commander Macdonald Uba, visited the market to reassure all traders in Lokpanta Market that no trader there was asked to relocate by the state government.
He claimed that for the traders to conduct business, they must have homes.
Algave told the Adviser that what the cattle dealers require is a conducive environment to operate their businesses, pointing out that since they may not be able to come from long distances, they need a housing estate outside the market.
He acknowledged that the state government did not ask Northern traders to leave Lokpanta, but explained that some of them wrongly took the policy by the government to make the market a daily one and also nonresidential, a signal for them to leave.
In his comment, the chairman of Hausa Community in the state, Sarki Danladi Yaro, assured that Northern traders in Lokpanta Cattle Market will not harbour criminals, adding that the traders which comprise Hausa, Fulani, and Igbo traders were ready to engage the state government in a fruitful discussion.
Earlier, the Special Adviser on Security had told the traders that the government’s decision to make the market non-residential is to curb the activities of criminals in the market, adding that it was taken for the interest of the traders and the people of Abia State in general.
He regretted that instead of the traders enjoying the market as a place for business activities where cattle/cows are sold, some criminals have turned it into a den/residence of kidnappers, cultists, rapists, and armed robbers.
He described the state governor, Dr. Alex Otti as a de-tribalised Nigerian and assured them that the government would make the market a model for all to enjoy.