Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State on Friday revealed when the shut Bodija market will be re-opened.
The market was shut Thursday afternoon after a clash reported to have claimed lives of about six people occurred between butchers and policemen Thursday morning.
But, Ajimobi while speaking when he visited the market Friday afternoon declared that the market can be reopened within twenty-four hours.
Ajimobi, however, said such would be done after due consultation with the security agencies, community and market leaders and the leaders of the local government area.
He added that perpetrators of the clash will be prosecuted and made to rehabilitate the burnt police station.
He reiterated that his administration will not tolerate hooliganism, thuggery, saying that government will not fold its hands and allow some dissidents to destroy its seven years labour of restoring peace and safety in the state.
He maintained that only an enemy of development will condemn the action of the government to relocate the butchers to the central abattoir, explaining that the management of the Central Abattoir is being handled by the 11 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Ibadan and its Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), the National Butchers Union of Nigeria (NUBN), the Oyo State Government on Public Private Partnership arrangement.
He said, “We are talking about the general health of the people and not just the minute section in the market as every citizen of the state has one or two things to do with the Bodija Market. The decision to have a central abattoir for the Ibadan butchers predated my administration and we saw the need to relocate the butchers as well. We started discussing with them since five years ago before we eventually relocated them this year.
“We had series of stakeholders’ meeting and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the smooth relocation. All parties agreed to our resolutions and that is why I am surprised that we still have dissidents fomenting trouble. We are always in the habit of politicizing issues in the state. Majority of the butchers have moved and we have received commendations from their union, National Union of Butchers of Nigeria.
“Let me assure you that the perpetrators of this violence will not go unpunished and they will rehabilitate the police station. People must be allowed to pay for their deeds. We did not destroy anybody’s stall or shop. Or is there any crime in destroying what is not useful for the government again? We have not stopped them from selling meat at the Bodija market but no more slaughtering of cow there due to the poor hygienic condition. There was also resistance when butchers were moved from Gege to Bodija, so the resistance is not new but the crisis and violence were unnecessary.
“We are working at reopening the market at the earliest possible time as we do not want to deprive our people their means of livelihood. But, we must be assured that adequate measures are put in place to forestall a repeat of the crisis. We may likely open the market in the next 48 hours”.