Violence over cattle meat erupted Thursday at the Monrovia Slaughter House on the Somalia Drive on Bushrod Island in Monrovia between wholesale and retail dealers. Due to the gravity of the situation, the police was called in to restore law and order.
The ‘madness’ between the wholesalers and retailers lasted for about an hour before calm was restored through the intervention of the police support unit (PSU) to Somalia Drive which earlier experienced traffic blocked. Unconfirmed report speaks of injuries during the melee (violence), but that is yet to be verified up to press time.
It began when the foreigners (Fulani wholesalers), who dominate the business arbitrarily increased the cost of a pound of meat from L$180 to 220/230 on ground that there was no importation of cattle (cow, sheep or goat) into Liberia.
Alpha Barry, a Fulani and one of the wholesalers, attributed the situation to the continuous closure for the past months of the Liberia-Guinean and Liberia-Ivorian borders.
“I bought 90 cows in Guinea, but I was prevented from importing them to Liberia by that country’s government because they do not want meat to leave their country,” Mr. Barry continued. One of the retailers, Otis Flomo, argued that as a result of the price-hiking by the wholesalers, customers were scared away.
“We used to buy a pound of meat L$180 from them (wholesalers), but now they are telling us to retail for L$220 or 230, which is too exorbitant for the customers,” Flomo noted.
“If we did that,” he continued, “How do they expect to make profit when many of us (Liberians) have been surviving on this business for some times now despite possessing college degrees without a better job?”
In the wake of the claims and counterclaims, a female member of the Monrovia Slaughter Association (MSA) blamed her fellow Liberians for the row. According to Garmai Korpu, her fellow Liberians were instigated by the foreigners (Fulani) against her while advocating for one of her compatriots to occupy a seat within the association’s leadership.
“They must blame themselves and not to cussed noise and confusion because when I foresaw that one of us must be represented in association, they downplay it,” Korpu noted.
She wondered: “How can you and foreigners form an association in your own country and you are not represented in the leadership? Does that make any sense,” Writes TKS