Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Friday said that the perpetrators of the Bodija Market crisis would be prosecuted and made to rehabilitate the burnt police station. The Governor also assured that the market which has been closed as a result of the crisis would be reopened within 48 hours.
Governor Ajimobi, who visited the market, the burnt police station and the Central Abattoir at Amosun in company of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abiodun Odude, reiterated that his administration would not tolerate hooliganism and thuggery, saying that government would not fold its hands and allow some dissidents to destroy its seven years labour of restoring peace and safety in the state.
The Governor condoled with the traders and people at the Bodija Market, assuring that the government may reopen the market within the next 48hrs after due consultation with the security agencies, the community and market leaders and the leaders of the local government area.
The governor stated that only an enemy of development and progress would condemn the action of the government to relocate the butchers to the central abattoir, explaining that the management of the Central Abattoir is being handled by the 11 Local Government Areas, LGAs, in Ibadan and its Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, the National Butchers Union of Nigeria ,NUBN, the Oyo State Government and the Public Private Partnership arrangement.
He said that the Central Abattoir at Amosun village is an ultra-modern facility equipped with state – of – the art facility, pipe borne water, animal health centre, police post among others, noting that the health condition of the general public is one of the primary concerns of the government and proper hygiene should be put in place in an environment where meat is being produced for millions of people.
The governor said that the Bodija Abattoir was closed last year due to the poor hygienic situation of the abattoir as the cow dung was left unpacked for four months, saying, “the market was closed in 2017 for three days because of the sanitation implications. There was unhealthy treatment of cattle blood, offensive odours, unhygienic spread of meat, air pollution due to gaseous emission from the cow dung and the government was concerned about the likely epidemic disease from flies spread.
“We are talking about the general health of the people and not just the minute section in the market as every citizen of the state has one or two things to do with the Bodija Market. The decision to have a central abattoir for the Ibadan butchers predated my administration and we saw the need to relocate the butchers as well. We started discussing with them since five years ago before we eventually relocated them this year.
“We had series of stakeholders’ meeting and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the smooth relocation. All parties agreed to our resolutions and that is why I am surprised that we still have dissidents fomenting trouble.
“We are always in the habit of politicizing issues in the state. Majority of the butchers have moved and we have received commendations from their union, National Union of Butchers of Nigeria”.
He concluded, “Let me assure you that the perpetrators of this violence will not go unpunished and they will rehabilitate the police station. People must be allowed to pay for their deeds. We did not destroy anybody’s stall or shop but government’s slaughter slabs. Or is there any crime in destroying what is not useful for the government again? We have not stopped them from selling meat at the Bodija market but no more slaughtering of cow there due to the poor hygienic condition.
“There was also resistance when butchers were moved from Gege to Bodija, so the resistance is not new, but the crisis and violence were unnecessary. We are working at reopening the market at the earliest possible time as we do not want to deprive our people their means of livelihood.
“But, we must be assured that adequate measures are put in place to forestall the repeat of the crisis. We may likely open the market in the next 48hours”.
Speaking, the Babaloja of Bodjia Market, Alhaji Sumaila Jimoh appreciated the governor for the swift action in quenching the crisis, appealing that Governor Ajimobi should temper justice with mercy and reopen the market.
Alhaji Jimoh said that the Bodija market people are peace loving, but some butchers were always fomenting trouble even with the traders at the market, commending that the government has done well by relocating the butchers to the central abattoir at Amosun Village.