From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said anyone giving religious or ethnic coloration to the demolition of the Oginigba Slaughter Market located at Trans -Amadi Industrial layout in Obio/Akpor council, did not mean well for Rivers State and the country.
He maintained that besides the demolished slaughter being a haven for criminal elements, its location at the Trans-Amadi Industrial Area was now considered inappropriate in terms of the state government’s urban renewal policy.
Governor Wike stated this when he visited the former Oginigba Slaughter Market for on-the-spot assessment of the ongoing demolition exercise.
He explained the state government decided to demolish the market because of incessant cases of kidnapping, armed robbery, innocent women being raped and other violent crimes within the precinct of the market.
The Rivers State governor disclosed that over the year, large cache of weapons were amassed by criminal elements operating from the demolished slaughter.
He expressed optimism that with the demolition, residents of Oginigba will now heave a sigh of relief from the activities of criminals.
Governor Wike reiterated that it was mischievous for anyone to insinuate that the demolition was targeted at any particular ethnic or religious group.
According to him, there are several other slaughter markets like the ones in Eliozu, Rukpokwu, Ogbogoro that are still functional and have not been converted to haven for crime and criminality.
“So, anybody bringing religious or ethnic coloration doesn’t mean well for the people of the state and the country. And I am not going to be perturbed; I am not going to be cowed and also I am not going to be blackmailed by anybody.”
Governor Wike stated that the State government had already commenced the construction of a modern abattoir, fitted with state-of-the-art equipment in Mgbuosimini, Rumueme of Obio/Akpor council.
He disclosed that the new abattoir has the capacity to slaughter 400 cattle as well as 1,500 goats and sheep per day.
The governor said the State government will develop the site of the former Oginigba Slaughter market to suit its urban renewal policy.
He commended the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Task Force on Illegal Trading And Parks for successfully overseeing the demolition exercise.
“I want to thank the Ministry of Agriculture and the task force, they are doing a beautiful job and I have directed that they should start carting away all the debris. We will fence it immediately, so that by the time we are ready for another development here, people will appreciate what we have done.”
The governor said he was delighted with the feedbacks he was getting from residents of the state, who are delighted by the measures taken by the state government to restore sanity around the Oginiba market.
He said: “People are happy. People have been commending us. Go to social media, people are saying they never believed that a government can take this kind of drastic action that is long overdue. And like I said, we don’t believe in doing things without giving a human face to governance.
“We tried to bring the Ministry of Agriculture to interface with them, to talk to them to let them know this is the plan of government. And we gave them one month to leave. It is our property, it is not as if people built and we are coming to take it. Government built this place with our funds.”