By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN— TRAUMATISED butchers at the Bodija International Market, who lost three of their colleagues in the melee that erupted between them and policemen over the forceful relocation of their abbatoir to Amosun village in Akinyele Local Government by Oyo State government, have alleged that brazen disobedience to a court order by the government triggered the bloody violence.
The Secretary of one of the shops at Bodija abattoir, Mr. Adam Babatunde, who spoke with newsmen, at the weekend, said they were surprised at the needless invasion of the market by security men who acted on the orders of the state government.
Babatunde said: “This project started during Akala’s administration, it is owned by one of a former governor’s friend. When Ajimobi came, that man went to him and he refused because it is a private company. But we were surprised that when the former governor moved to APC, the man went to lobby Governor Ajimobi.
“We rejected the move. To cut it short, last Friday, some people came with a court order that they wanted to seal the abattoir. We called our lawyer, Femi Johnson, who spoke to them, he quoted the law for them and they all left and told us that they were sent to the market to seal it. We were surprised that they came on the early morning of Sunday and demolished the abattoir.
“Later, the DPO of Bodija called us and said the Commissioner of Police wanted to see us. Some of our members including Mr. Najeem Balogun, Mr. Idowu Adebayo, and Mr. Ismail Iware went there; they were later detained and charged to court on Tuesday. They were arraigned at Magistrate court. The court said they did not commit any offence and we bailed them. The case was adjourned to July 16, 2018. The court told us to go back and continue our businesses. The police even denied that they were not the ones that came to demolish the abattoir.
“There are two other cases that are still pending in the court. The one called by the state government and the private company against the butchers in Court 2 at High Court, it was mentioned on Tuesday and it was adjourned to October 24. The court said that the status quo should be maintained, that we should go back to our various locations; that all parties should remain calm.”
“There is another case instituted by the butchers in Egbeda local government against the government, that one is in court 4 at High Court, it was mentioned on Wednesday, 27th June 2018, it was adjourned till October 25th, 2018. The court told us to go to our respective locations to do our businesses but we were surprised that the police could come despite the fact that there are three cases on this matter in courts.”