The Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Ahmad Abdulrahman, has waded into the crisis rocking the Garriki Cattle market at Ugwuoba in Oji River Local Government Area of the state.
The move was aimed at restoring peace at the troubled market over the postponed election to elect accepted leaders at the multi-million naira cattle market.
The commissioner of Police met the two factions in the market – Amalgamated Cattle Dealers Association, ACDA, led by Aminu Iya and Amalgamated Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers Association, AFCDA, led by Buba Garba, at the State Police Headquarters in Enugu on Friday.
Speaking to newsmen before the meeting, the representative of Amalgamated Cattle Dealers Association, Mr Abdul’aziz Mohammed, accused members of the faction led by Garba of being responsible for the postponement of the Ugwuoba cattle market election.
Mohammed said the AFCDA members allegedly disrupted the election that was scheduled to hold in 2019 at the Oji River Local Government Secretariat by importing those he described as “thugs” to participate in the election.
He said that the action led to its postponement by the former Chairman of the local government, Mr Harrison Okeke.
On how the “thugs” got registered for the election, Mohammed alleged that Alhaji Buba photocopied the original registration card for them, which informed the decision to lock them out of the secretariat’s gate.
He said that the issue of election which had divided the market and caused revenue loss came to fore after the death of their leader, Mr Baba Malam in 2019.
He said that his faction was ready to participate in the election.
Meanwhile, Garba, the leader of Amalgamated Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers Association, has described the allegations against him and his members as `false and malicious’.
He said that the allegation that his members disrupted the earlier election was an attempt to ridicule him before the members of the public.
He said that his group would be ready to work with anybody who emerged as a leader in the market through the conduct of the free, fair and credible election in the market.
An indigene of Ugwuoba Community, Mr Jonathan Ikwumeleze however, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that only generally accepted election would restore peace, unity, accountability, and development in the cattle market.
NAN reports that the two factions, at the end of the closed-door meeting, agreed to sheath their swords for the sake of peace and also work together towards getting electing leaders in the market.