Scores of butchers under the umbrella of National Butchers Union from the 11 local government areas in Ibadanland on Sunday appealed to Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State to as a matter of urgency prevail on some elements who are using soldiers, policemen and other security agents to destroy their property, intimidate and harass butchers across the various abattoirs in Ibadan, the state capital.
They made this appeal while addressing a press conference jointly organised in conjunction with Veteran Organization for Human Rights Initiative on the heel of the demolition and pulling down of abattoirs at Bodija on Sunday, intimidation, harassment of butchers in Gbagi, Bodija, Iwo Road and Babarere markets, which was supervised by over 50 hefty and heavily armed soldiers and mobile policemen in the early hours of Sunday.
The butchers, who argued that a purported relocation order giving to all butchers in Ibadanland to relocate to Amosun Village was a verbal order which did not emanate from Ajimobi, declared that such order was the handiwork of some elements within the union allegedly led by Alhaji Azeez Alagunfon, Alhaji Biliaminu Eleshinmeta, Kehinde Tewogbade, Fatai Alagunfon, Alhaji Lateef Olagoke and others for their own selfish interests.
The Chairman of NBU in Egbeda Local Government, Alhaji Mukaila Oladejo Otedola, and his colleagues, Adebayo Wasiu from Gege market in Ibadan South West LG; Alhaji Rafiu Oladepo from Adegbayi market in Egbeda LG; Alhaji Wasiu Adebayo from New Gbagi market; and Financial Secretary of NBU in the state, Alhaji Kabiru Alao, maintained that it was disheartening to note that despite the fact that butchers in Ibadanland have rejected the relocation move, some disgruntled elements collided to use hefty soldiers, armed mobile policemen and other security agents to demolish slater slabs at Bodija market on Sunday, invade Gbagi market and other slaughter slabs at Iwo Road and Babarere by coercing butchers to leave their various locations.
They said: “Some disgruntled elements who would always want to pain our listening Governor in different colors went ahead to disturb the peace of butchers in Gbagi and Bodija markets in the early our of yesterday (22nd June 2018) and destroyed our abattoir slabs at Bodija market today, Sunday, 23rd June 2018.
“The slaughter houses belonging to Alhaji Azeez Alagunfon and Biliaminu Eleshinmeta group were not affected by the police raid, this is a pointer to lopsidedness. The same drama occurred at Bodija, Iwo Road Alarere and Babarere markets.
“This soldiers came with a motion Ex-partre purported to have been sworn at High Court 2 registry on the 14th June 2018 by one Dr. (Mrs) Ibitoye Mofoluwake Moriyike, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural resources, Secretariat Ibadan and served on unknown persons as defendants and definitely not the butchers in Ibadanland.
“A motion ex-partre got on 14th June 2018 which was supposed to have elapsed on the 21st June 2018 and served on unknown defendants was used to intimidate and harass butchers. We view this as impunity of if he highest order. This case is already in court for mentioning on 27th June 2018.”
The butchers then appealed to Ajimobi not to waste more time but “wade into this imbroglio to prevent disharmony and allow peace to reign in the state”.
They added: “We call on the Governor to prevail on those using the apparatus of the state government illegally to unleash unrest and fear in people.”
VOHRI Lead Activist, Comrade Sakirullahi Ayobami, and General Secretary, Comrade Adekunle Abimbola, in their contributions while condemning the destruction, demolition of the butchers property on Sunday, intimidation and harassment of butchers, said it was unfortunate that some elements among the butchers are using security agents to harass their colleagues.
Ayobami and Abimbola while sympathising with the butchers said they were interested in getting justice for the intimidated and oppressed butchers.
They said: “VOHRI demands nothing but justice. Enough of continues harassment, intimidation, breach of fundamental human rights and serious threat to life.
“Many of these butchers who were asked to relocate have legitimate slaughter slabs that have been duly registered and approved by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“The popular axiom states that justice delayed is justice denied. Let justice prevail, we beg the government.”