…Shettima imposes civil-military management in cattle markets
…Ban sale of dry meat
… introduces stringent conditions in slaughter houses
By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
Boko Haram insurgents have devised a new means of using “unscrupulous middlemen” to crudely sell stolen cattle at the Gamboru cattle market in Maiduguri with proceeds used to fund terror activities, Borno Governor, Kashim Shettima announced Friday.
He spoke while inaugurating a new management made up of representatives of the Nigerian military, police, the Department of State Security, civilian JTF and Government officials who have been assigned to take full charge of the market and henceforth scrutinize sources of all cattle, delay slaughter of certified cattle for claims while the Government placed a ban on imports of cattle through various routes as well as sale of dry meat across the State.
Shettima, whose written message was read by Secretary to the Borno State Government, Usman Jidda Shuwa at the inauguration of the new management committee, said the insurgents resorted to the new order because they now lack capacity to attack and loot banks, towns and other traditional methods of sourcing funds for their murderous activities.
“Our security agencies have reasonably 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 unscrupulous middlemen who use underhand ploy to deliberately disguise the transactions as legitimate.
The money realised from such transactions would then be channeled to fund the deadly activities of the insurgents.
“Consequently, the insurgents, through these nefarious transactions, felt they had discovered new sources of resuscitating their already battered and degraded infrastructure, with a view to recommencing their atrocities, which have since been irredeemably halted by the Military.
“We are indeed very grateful to the gallant and professional resourcefulness of our security agencies who, through their relentless pursuit of the insurgents and incredible intelligence gathering techniques, have identified the nature and type of serious security threats posed by the trading activities at these cattle markets and appreciably staved off such threats by foreclosing all commercial transactions at these places” the Governor said explaining that the discovery led to the temporary closure of the market by security agencies in the State.
As a result of the situation, Shettima said, he was putting in place a committee made up of representatives of the military, the Nigerian Police Force, 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 to takeover the markets so that activities in the market would resume due to public demands for meat but under a sanitized system.
“In addition to the overall management of the cattle markets, the Committee is to devise 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 are 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 give opportunity to 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.
Shettima announced a ban on importation of cattle into the State for the time being.
“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 Governor said he would hold members of the committee responsible if trading of stolen cattle continues in any market.
“Let me reiterate that considering the caliber 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 presented cheques of N100m to 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 members are to use the funds to purchase legitimate cattle that are to be subjected to investigations by the new management committee of cattle markets.