Lokpanta Cattle Market Now Daily Market, Not Residential, Says Abia Govt
The government of Dr. Alex Otti of Abia State says it will not rescind in its decision to convert the popular Lokpanta Cattle Market to a daily market, in a bid to provide a lasting solution to the spate of insecurity ravaging the area, over the years.
According to the Governor who spoke through his Special Adviser on security, in a statement made available to the Media, said the decision to make the Lokpanta Cattle Market a daily market is in the interest of the citizens and the cattle dealers, adding that the government will not repeal the decision.
The government described as falsehood, claims making rounds that it directed Northerners, who live and conduct their businesses at the Lokpanta Cattle Market, around the Enugu-Umuahia-Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway by Umunneochi, to leave the State.
According to the statement, “those Northerners are the second and third generations of Igbos” living in Lokpanta.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Navy Commander Macdonald Ubah (rtd), who made this clarification while briefing journalists at the government house in Umuahia, on Monday, noted that the Lokpanta-Uturu axis of the State had been under siege by criminal elements in the last couple of years, prompting the major steps recently taken by the State government to eliminate the spate of kidnappings and other criminal activities in the area.
He said preliminary investigation pointed to the Lokpanta Cattle market as a major hideout for all kinds of individuals involved in different criminal activities, including kidnappings, organ harvesting, armed robbery and other violent crimes.
The retired Naval Commander said that ransom for kidnap victims around the Uturu-Umunneochi axis were allegedly paid in the market, a situation which according to him, prompted the State government to, among other measures, carry out deliberate actions including demolition of brothels and shanties in the market.
Ubah, who described Governor Alex Otti as a detribalised Nigerian, having appointed non-Abians into his cabinet, noted that most of the cattle dealers in the state are second and third generations of Igbos, and therefore the Governor Otti-led government could not have given such a directive.
He said that the stand of government is that the market would no longer be residential, but a daily market.
The Special Adviser on security to the Abia governor maintained that the government’s decision to make the Lokpanta Cattle Market a daily market is in the interest of the citizens and the cattle dealers, adding that the government will not rescind the decision.
He further told the media that he had on two occasions held meetings with the leadership of the cattle market unions, where he informed them of the government’s decision to make the market a daily one, for security reasons.
In summary, the Abia Government says, it has converted the cattle market at Lokpanta in Umunneochi LGA to a daily non-residential market to stem the tide of insecurity along the Lokpanta-Umunneochi-Uturu axis of the state.