BY KALU EZIYI |
Northern Community stakeholders and leaders in Umuchieze Cattle Market, Lokpanta have denied harbouring bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers and killer-herdsmen in the market.
Their spokesman, Alhaji Buba Kedemure stated this while addressing the press on the allegation at the market in Umunnechi local government area, describing it as a dangerous rumour that has highly upset the community.
Kederema said, “The allegation is a calculated attempt by some disgruntled elements within and outside the market to incite the host community and government against our community. We are deeply worried by the allegation.”
He called on their customers in particular, the people of the state, and Nigerians in general to disregard the unfounded rumour which he argued has affected their movements, businesses, and the economy of the area negatively.
He maintained that the day marked over 16 years since the market “which has become a unifying factor between the Northern and Southern parts of the country” was established, adding that since then it had been peaceful.
“We admit that there has been exodus of northerners, herdsmen inclusive from South to the North in recent times. The fact that some of them come here to board vehicles does not mean we are harbouring them to commit crime anywhere,’’ he said.
“We are law-abiding citizens, who are engaged in legitimate businesses,” he added. “For the avoidance of doubt, we want to state in an unequivocal term that we do not authorise, harbour, or in anywhere are we involved or connected with criminals.”
According to both the chairman of the market and the Sarkin Zango, Alhaji Annaya Umar and Alhaji Hussaini Muhammadu, who said they had lived in the state for over three decades, the allegation has dealt a serious blow to the market.
Similarly, Deaconess Tina Ihesiulo, a dealer in fabrics and Alhaji Usman Pepper, a cattle dealer, who are both indigenes of the state, expressed worry at the threat of the allegation to the safety of the market and the traders.
In his contribution, the chief Imam of the market, Mallam Bashiru Sale, said he has been using his position to admonish Muslims to live peacefully with their neighbours and to abhor crime and criminal activities according to the faith.