Alleged Military Disturbance at Ohafia Abattoir, Abia Govt Promises to Resolve Issues
By Alfred Agu
Hon. Uzo Azubuike, Abia State CommissionerAgriculture has promised to resolve the problem leading to alleged confiscation of a public abattoir in Ohafia by Nigerian army’s 14 Brigade in Ohafia.
Azubuike who made the promise on Wednesday said he had no prior knowledge of the problem but promised to act urgently now that he had known of it when informed through due process by the Permanent Secretary.
Naijawatchdog learnt that a public abattoir at Ohafia which existed before the situating of the 14 Brigade military barrack in the area had been taken over by the army in the area.
A source at the abattoir who simply gave his name as Okeke said that recently, the 14 Brigade administrators fenced the place and infolded the abattoir into its compound, using perimeter fence to claim the facility and control its business.
“Before the army captured the abattoir, it was serving the people of Ohafia and then it was under the Ministry of Agriculture, Abia State.
“It was the ministry that assigned Veterinary Doctors to the abattoir to inspect the animals, prepare them for slaughtering and the meat from the animals.
“The abattoir was also a source of revenue to the state but when the 14 Brigade of the Nigerian Army fenced it inside its compound, they refused to allow the ministry of Agriculture manages it.
“The Army from the time of fencing it some years back refused to allow Public Veterinary Doctors assigned to oversee the place by the state government to enter the abattoir claiming it is inside their compound.
“They also claimed that they have personnel, who we learnt are not Veterinary Doctors, who examined the animals before they are slaughtered.
“The butchers using the abattoir who now refuse to pay their service fees alleged that the army demands the abattoir revenue from them hence they (the butchers) cannot pay the state government thereafter in other to avoid double taxation.
“This has become a problem to the people of Ohafia because it had resulted in incessant complaints that dead animals are shared there and sold out to the public because the abattoir is not monitored properly by Abia state Veterinary Doctors”.
“We, the people in this area want the army to allow the state government takes over control of the abattoir to ensure its operations follow legal operational rules in Abia state to ensure the health of Ohafia meat consumers.”
A source who pleaded anonymity at the Ministry of Agriculture, Umuahia told Naijawatchdog that many letters had been written to the 14 Brigade Commanders and Administrators since 2016.
He said that the letters were asking the army to effect release of the abattoir to the state but regretted that since these years, there had been no response from them to the ministry of Agriculture.
FROM THE TOWER OF TRUTH