Governor Udom Emmanuel

Abasifreke Effiong

The Akwa Ibom state government has ordered the immediate closure of livestock markets in the state for the rest of the month of May 2020.

The chairman, incident management committee on COVID-19 in the state, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, announced the decision in a release on Monday.

Ekuwem said he was directed by the governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel to announce the immediate shutdown of the livestock market.

“I have been directed by HE the Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel to announce the immediate shutdown of all livestock market in state for the rest of May 2020.”

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“By the announcement, no new consignment of livestock – goats, cows and rams, will be allowed into the state until further notice. Livestock sellers are advised to sell off their stock and proceed to shutdown.”

Security agencies have been directed to monitor and ensure full compliance of the order.

The state government has not given reasons for ordering the closure of the market.

However, The Dune learnt that closure of the livestock market may not be unconnected to the illegal movement of Almajiris sent packing from different Northern states.

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Recall that the Northern Governors earlier this month decided to sent all Almajiris to their respective states of origin, unfortunately some of them have been rejected by their states, cause them to move around seeking asylum elsewhere.

Security forces in Akwa Ibom state last week intercepted a bus loaded with Almajiris in Eket, an oil city in the state.

The governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel said on Saturday during an interview that 15 Northerners who came into the state in a truck conveying livestock were sent back to their states after they had offloaded the livestock.

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Livestock market in Akwa Ibom state depends on importation of goats, cows and rams from Northern Nigeria.

It was learnt that the decision to close the livestock market is part of measures to control illegal entry into the state and community spread of Coronavirus.