Yesterday, the people of Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State protested over the proposed ‘Cattle Market’ in Obehie Asa.
The cattle market proposed site which was situated in Obehie Asa has allegedly being given to the Fulani herdsmen for their cattle settlement by the Abia State government. Hence, Ukwa People who are the ancestral owner of the land protested yesterday to register their anger over the state government decision to cede their land to the herdsmen without their consent.
The protest which was organised by Asa Development Union (ADU) went peaceful as the men of the Nigerian Police Force Ukwa West division was present to prevent any breakdown of law.
The protesters was seen carrying placards with different inscription like; “Cattle Market Is A Nuisance”; “Cattle Market Is A Sacrilege”, “Cattle Market A Plot To Kill Ukwa People…”, etc.
Speaking during the protest, a Community youth leader, Mr. Chinyere Enyinnanya said the youths of the Obehie Asa vehemently rejected the Cattle Market, he asked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu led Abia Govt to do the needful to avert any clash with the herdsmen.
“We the Ukwa People, especially Obehie Asa rejects the proposed cattle market. We also, call on the state government to do the needful as herdsmen has invaded our land and destroyed all our farm crops. We the people of Ukwa believed in Farming but it pains us that after farming, the herdsmen will use their cattle to destroy our farm crops.
“It’s a pity that our people now buys Garri in the market, something that we produced here but because of herdsmen, we can longer cultivate in our farms. I want to use this opportunity to say, anyone that want to rear cow let him go to his LGA and do it. Ukwa reject cattle market”, he concluded.
Also speaking, Mrs. Patience Azonwu, who speak on behalf of the women said Ukwa people reject the proposed cattle market. She narrated how the herdsmen has become a nightmare to them.
“Our people are suffering today because of the herdsmen and their cattle, we don’t want them in our land. Their cattle destroyed our farm crops after plantation, when it reach to cultivation we can’t get anything from our farms. Ukwa people feed from farming but today we can’t boost of any farm plantation.
“The worse is now the cattle market. This is not a development we want. Let them leave our land”, she noted.
Meanwhile, Asa Development Union in their press release described Cattle Market as a time bomb, which Ukwa People vehemently rejected.
The release which was signed by ADU’s President general, Dr. Onwubiko N. Dike and the Union secretary general, Dr. IK Ajuzieogu, reads;
“Being conscious of the fact of history and the dynamics of socio-cultural environment of Ukwa land, Asa Development Union hereby wishes to bring to the public space of an overwhelmingly general discontent of Ukwa people over the recent action of Abia State government to establish cattle market at obehie, Asa Ukwa West Local Government Area.
“We hasten to state that Ukwa people are continually being subjected to a cocktail of inhuman treatment of marginalization, suppression, intimidation, deprivation and despoliation by successive government in the state.
Pointedly, the Union wishes to vehemently state as follows;
1. That Cattle Market does not fit into the natural economic ambiance of the geography and socio-cultural life of Asa people.
2. That the grave implication of the public health challenge of zoonosis of Trypanosomiasis (a deadly protozoan sleeping sickness) outbreak as a result of cattle market will be a life threatening danger to Ukwa people and should not be contemplated.
3. That the nuisance value of Fulani herdsmen and their activities of maiming, raping, kidnapping, banditry and destruction of farm crops cannot be accommodated in our environment. Hence, the hue and cry of Ukwa people. Of course, it is in the public domain that the raging countywide insecurity orchestrated by Fulani herdsmen has become a palpably recurrent decimal threatening national security.
4. That already, the Fulani herdsmen are all over Ukwa west LGA, especially Owaza and Obiakpu communities perpetrating heinous crimes including kidnapping of our people and demanding ransom. Incidents of this ugly scenario have been well recorded in the diary of the divisional Police Headquarters, Obehie Asa.
5. That there is a groundswell of overarching uneasiness and disenchantment of Ukwa peole with the worsening spectre of unbridled land acquisition vis-a-vis acquisition of nearly 10,000 hectares of Ukwa land for the proposed Eyinmba Economic City Development (EECD) that has culminated in the death of Mr. Nwamaka Ogbuji of Ugwati, Asa on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. Consequently, the vexatious issue of cattle market at Obehie is being perceived as an aggravated assault on Ukwa people by the present Abia State Government.
6. That Ukwa West Local Government Area has about the smallest landmass in Abia State. As the only oil – producing area of Abia State, a substantial landmass of Ukwa West LGA is interspersed with oil and gas pipelines such that a small patch of land is left put for agricultural activities from which majority of Ukwa people eke out a living. Contingent upon this situation, is the fact that huge land areas of Ukwa has been previously acquired for ill-fated development projects namely;
i. Ogwe Golden Chicken Project.
ii. Obuaku City Development.
iii. Umudobia International Market.
iv. Omumuzor Abattoir Project.
In essence, establishing a cattle market at Obehie would be a most gruesome scenario with its attendant hardship on the life of Ukwa people and should not be contemplated.
7. That Ukwa land should not be mortaged for nasty, obnoxious, irrational, repugnant and unconscionable political interests.
Cattle Market at Obehie is a political narcissism of the most bizzare order. What a shame!
8. That Ukwa people totally rejected this cold and callous political impunity of cattle market verging on a terribly mischievous and wickedly marooned power mongering.
9. That the rage of Asa Development Union is against the dying conscience of whosoever is playing politics of cattle market to enslave and suffer the souls of innocent Ukwa people under absolutely facade development.
10. That Abia State government should look elsewhere for cattle market as Ukwa land cannot accommodate the asphyxiating and anathematizing living conditions associated with such project.
Indeed, Asa Development Union is abundantly and unequivocally saying; enough of this political shenanigan of cattle market. No way for Cattle Market in Ukwa Land.
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