Concerned Members of the Butchers Association of Edo State have appealed to the State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki to remove the purported State Chairman,
Mr Akhere Odigie, who they say was never a butcher but imposed on the association by his government against their wishes, five years ago.
They say the gross incompetence of Mr Akhere Odigie is costing members millions of naira daily, to the extent that butchers lose between N80,000 and N120,000 for each cow slaughtered in Benin City on a daily basis.
They also say that the said Mr Akhere Odigie now goes about and daily extort monies at gun point from innocent butchers while threatening to close down the abbatoir of those who fail to pay up, boasting that he has the governor’s backing and is above the law.
One butcher Hajia Bilikisu Sule said, “Many butchers are also indebted to banks and money lenders, besides the Cattle dealers. While some owe a minimum of N20million others owe N40million and above
to these cattle dealers.
She said, “This includes women and even the Hausa people among us. Some have even sold landed properties, lands, houses and vehicles and other valuables to remain in business. Besides all was well with us before the government imposed Mr Odigie on the association
in violation of the constitution of the Butchers association”.
“We know that Odigie claims he is a relative of the Governor Obaseki. That was why he was imposed him on us. That is also why besides his ignorance of the code of conduct for all butchers since he was never a butcher himself, he has engaged among other illegalities, in high-handedness, abuse of office, extortion, thuggery and intimidation of members.
“Many butchers have left the public slaughter houses because their lives are at risk of the hired thugs who parade the arena daily and on the instructions of Mr Odigie who bullies and intimidates them. Even the said Odigie regularly goes about with armed thugs and threatens innocent butchers by shooting into the air”.
Another butcher Mr Ahmadu Muhammad said, “Inspite of everything going on which is clearly wrong and out of place, the Mr Odigie keeps boasting and telling anyone who cares to listen that, no one can remove them from office because he is a relative of the State Governor.
“The present situation is unacceptable because it has put many individual butchers into huge debts running with Cattle Dealers. Butchers are all operating at a loss with huge investment and zero returns. We want Governor Obaseki to remove Odigie from office and pave the way for the conduct of a proper, open, free and fair election where qualified and competent butchers who have relevant experience can vie for offices.
“As a governor who was democratically elected in a popular election, it is only proper that Governor Obaseki will allow we butchers to benefit from the same democratic process by allowing us to hold a free and fair election to elect competent officials to run our affairs”.