The Borno State Government has set up a committee to control the sale of cattle and dried meat, which it says boko haram insurgents have devised new means of using middlemen to sell stolen cattle at the Gamboru cattle market in Maiduguri.
Governor Kashim Shettima said the committee would take full charge of the market by scrutinising sources of all cattle and delay slaughter of certified cattle for claims.
“In addition to the overall management of the cattle markets, the Committee is to device strategies to ascertain the source of all cattle being traded and slaughtered at the Cattle markets; ensure that a mandatory period of three to four days is observed on all cattle sold before they are sent to the slaughter house in order to enable interested parties to inspect them. This is to avail the opportunity of those whose cattle have been rustled to make claims and counter claims; certify all cattle traded at the markets to ensure that all pre-set conditions have been met before they are slaughtered” the Governor said.
The Borno State government said the new measures became necessary because security agencies in the state had established that most of the cattle being traded at the markets were the direct proceeds of cattle rustling perpetrated by Boko Haram insurgents, which were sold at prohibitive costs to unsuspecting customers through some corrupt middlemen.
It said these men use underhand ploy to deliberately disguise the transactions as legitimate and that the money realised from such transaction would then be channelled to fund the deadly activities of the insurgents.
The Borno state government has also placed a ban on all imports of cattle through various routes as well as sale of dry meat across the State.
The government has also suspended all trading activities at the Gamboru, Dusuman, Shuwari and Ngom cattle markets till further notice, in line with the Government’s commitment to ensure that that no public place is turned into an avenue for funding nefarious activities of the insurgents.
According to the state government, the insurgents have now resorted to a new order of using middlemen to sell stolen cattle, because they lack the traditional methods of sourcing funds for the murderous activities and the capacity to attack and loot banks and towns.
The new committee is made up of representatives of the military, the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Security, youth volunteers involved in counter insurgency operations popularly known as the Civilian JTF, Government officials and credible representatives of unions of traders and Butchers.
Consequently, the government said the new committee would now strategise to ascertain the source of all cattle being traded and slaughtered at the Cattle markets, ensure that a mandatory period of three to four days is observed on all cattle sold before they are sent to the slaughter house in order to enable interested parties inspect them.
According to the government, this will create the opportunity for those whose cattle have been rustled to make claims and certify all cattle traded at the markets to ensure that all pre-set conditions had been met before they were slaughtered.
The Secretary to the Borno State Government, Usman Jidda Shuwa, who spoke on behalf of Governor Shettima at the inauguration of the new management committee, said the government had also suspended for two weeks, the importation of cattle to the State Capital.
“In order to facilitate the work of the Committee and achieve the desired outcome, importation of cattle to the State Capital through all routes by all sources, other than the Cattle traders Association is hereby suspended for two weeks from the date of this inauguration. In the same vein, the sale of dried meat has been banned as it has been observed that criminal elements resort to this method to legitimize their dubious activities which ultimately end up in funding the activities of the insurgents. Furthermore, all trading activities at the Gamboru cattle markets, Dusuman, Shuwari and Ngom are suspended until further notice in line with the Government’s determined commitment to ensuring that no public place is turned into an avenue for funding of nefarious activities of the insurgents,” he noted.
The government has also banned the sale of dried meat, because it observed that criminal elements resort to such a method to legitimize their dubious activities, which ultimately end up in funding the activities of the insurgents.
Governor further said he would hold members of the committee responsible if trading of stolen cattle continue in any market.
“Let me reiterate that considering the calibre of the members of this Committee, I have no doubt in my mind that you will discharge this responsibility within your utmost ability. I will therefore hold you personally and severally responsible for any omission or commission in the effective discharge of this onerous assignment. I enjoin you to live up to the expectation of the Government and people of the State” the governor said.
Also, the Governor presented cheques of 100 million naira to the leadership of the cattle traders and Butchers to serve as bailout to thousands of law abiding traders who have been thrown out of business, following steps taken by Government to close cattle markets.
The cattle traders are to use the funds to purchase legitimate cattle that are to be subjected to investigations by the new management committee of cattle markets.