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Rep faults Abia government on relocation of Aba Cattle Market to Obehie

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Representative of Ukwa East/West Constituency, Abia State in the House of Representatives, Uzoma Nkem Abonta, has faulted the state government’s move to relocate the Aba Waterside Cattle Market to Egbelu Obehie in Ukwa West Council Area.

Arguing that relocating the market to his constituency was not in the best interest of his people in terms of the hazards involved, he suggested that the market should be relocated to Bende or Ngwa.

Abonta, who was reacting to a statement by Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Dr. Cosmos Ndukwe on “Relocation of Aba Waterside Market for Cattle Sale, Not RUGA,” said Ukwa people have no land for such a market.

He told The Guardian that he recommended Bende and Ngwa for the market because they have more land and were more accessible from any part of the state than Ukwa, which bordered Abia and Rivers State.

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He considered the commissioner’s statement as exhibition of insensitivity against the Ukwa people, saying Ndukwe’s explanation that the relocation of the market from Aba to Obehie due to the health implications and the menace of cattle traders, was unfortunate and unacceptable.

The lawmaker noted that the commissioner further stated that after consultations with the landlords, the state government chose Obehie based on available land for cattle sale and not for grazing settlement.

He described Ndukwe’s explanation as the height of humiliation, domination, dehumanisation and attempt to undermine and under-develop the Ukwa people.

“Transferring environmental pollution and hazards to a people who have been contending with pollution from the oil and gas companies that pay taxes and tenancy rates to the government without consideration of the landowners is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“I have wondered why the government would deny that establishing a Cattle Market in an area is not RUGA. The government did not carry the Ukwa people along on its ill-advised plans of siting the project in Obehie.

“The destructive nature of cattle breeders otherwise known as herdsmen cannot be underestimated considering the threats they pose to the local people the entire environment,” he stated.

Abonta insisted that the government should relocate the market to alternative and bigger areas like Ngwa or Bende, saying each of them had more land and were more accessible from any part of the state.

He added that besides, the Ukwa people had donated enough of their lands to government for state owned projects that had not been implemented since they gave out such lands.

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