The many residents of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on Thursday groaned in frustration over the alleged shutting down of the beef market following the invasion of the popular abattoir at Swali Market by members of notorious cult groups, according to SaharaReporters.
The cult groups are demanding the sum of N1,000 on each cow to be slaughtered in the state.
It was gathered that the notorious cult groups, identified as Bobos and Greanlanders were led by one Daddy Boy, known to be loyal to the member of the State House of Assembly representing Yenagoa Constituency 1, Hon. Oboku Oforji.
He is also said to be loyal to one Frank, who is identified as the Unit leader of Greanlander in Swali and a member of the State Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee, Hon. Timi Jacob.
It was gathered that the activities of the cult groups had been going on for over three months in the market with over N1.8 million illegally collected from the members of the Butchers Association on cows delivered to the market.
A butcher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the refusal of transporters to convey cattle to the abattoir denied Bayelsa residents of beef on Friday.
"The drivers who transport cows to the market refused to pay the illegal N1, 000 fees and did not deliver any cow to the market," he said.
It was also gathered that the Swali community, which used to be peaceful, has become a haven for cult-related activities while the market is said to be turning into an armoury for some cult groups.
The suspected cult groups have divided the Swali area for illegal collection of levies and taxes, including the N5,000 levy imposed on local boat operators.
It was gathered that the increased movement of the cattle by the transporters started after the implementation of the anti-open grazing law by the state government. But the recent crisis connected to illegal extortion by suspected cultists started on Monday.
Sources within the Bayelsa State Government confirmed that the illegal collection of levies by the suspected cult groups is known to the state Commissioner of Trade and Investment, Hon. Federal Otokito, his counterpart in the Agriculture ministry, Hon. David Alagoa and the Special Adviser on Security to the Governor, Agberebi Akpoebi.
The leaders of the State Vigilante Service, Doubiye Alagba and Bayelsa Volunteers Service, Lucky Asanakpo respectively have refused to rise to the challenge to tackle the rising crime rate in the Swali community.
“These supervising state ministries and the Special Adviser on Security are treating the matter with levity and telling the state governor that all is well. All is not well. These cult boys are threatening us with guns. We are calling on the state governor, the police and residents to help us. We don’t want to die in the hands of these boys,” a butcher at the market told SaharaReporters.
Members of the Butchers Association have however said there may not be any sale of beef until the state governor, Gov. Douye Diri intervenes, suspecting it might last for two weeks.