HomeFeaturesProtesting Abia Community Accuses Butchers Of Rape, Assault

Protesting Abia Community Accuses Butchers Of Rape, Assault

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Indigenes of Mgbarakuma, Ubakala in Umuahia South Local Government Area, Abia State have cried out to the state government calling on them to relocate the abattoir in the community following an alleged inhumane treatment meted out against them by the butchers.

They said that the butchers were selling heavy narcotics in the neighbourhood and were also extorting, abusing, and raping their wives.

The locals led by their traditional ruler, HRH Eze Ebere Ubani, in a peaceful protest on Wednesday blocked the abattoir, thereby grounding all commercial activities.

They displayed placards with the following inscriptions: ‘We shall never give up what belongs to us’, ‘Land allocated without development over the years must be revoked and returned to the owner’, ‘Say no to imposters’ and ‘Our women have no place to farm.’

Speaking during the protest, the traditional ruler said the butchers had refused to pay compensation to the community for donating their land to them over the years.

He also alleged that the butchers, who are predominantly indigenes of Ibeku in Umuahia North Local Government Area, were intimidating his subjects to the extent of forcing them to pay gate fees if they go to the abattoir to buy meat.

He said, ‘When I became the Eze (king) of this community, I called the butchers for a meeting with our people, but they said they wanted to meet with me privately. I insisted that the meeting must be with the entire community.

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‘Instead of cooperating with us, they wrote me a stinker, claiming that I could not do anything because they had the backing of the government in power then. They even threatened to report me to the former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Chinedum Orji. I had to tolerate them because I wanted peace to reign.

‘This abattoir has been here for 30 years without any good impact on our community. Apart from this abattoir, other lands belonging to us were also acquired by the Federal Government to build the Nigeria Immigration office and Prison but no compensation was paid to our people.

‘The butchers intimidate and assault our people, rape our women and sell hard drugs which have a big negative impact on our youths. We are calling on the state government to revoke this land and ask the butchers to relocate to the cattle market at Lokpanta.

‘We want the government to revoke the agreement they have with the butchers and give us back our land for our women to farm on them. We are also telling the government to always involve us whenever they want to give our land to any institution for development so that we can negotiate on how our youths can be employed.’

The traditional prime minister in the community, High Chief Christian Ndu Onyebuchi, and the women leader, Deaconness Nwanna Udo, also collaborated their traditional ruler, by confirming the alleged inhumane treatment against them by the butchers.

In their words, ‘The butchers are collecting money from our own women who are selling vegetables in the abattoir in our own land and we say no to that.

‘They had attacked and blinded one of our sons who now sees with only one eye. They are raping our women and sell hard drugs in our bushes. We want the government to help us by telling them to leave our land for us.’

The secretary general of the community, Mr Ezigbo Chinedum, lamented that the presence of the butchers in the community was doing it more harm than good.

He said, ‘They are preventing our people from developing the land that government allocated to them here. They said the land is their own and we have asked them to present their evidence. We have also reported the matter to Ministry of Land and Housing.

‘The National Directorate of Employment is threatening to relocate their training centre from our community because of the activities of the butchers, so we want the state government to help us and ask them to go back to Lokpanta because their presence here is not doing us any good.’

But when contacted, the President, Butchers Association of Nigeria, Umuahia chapter, Mr Ngozi Williams, denied all the allegations levelled against them by the community.

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