By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
Security agencies in Borno State have on Saturday swung into action to halt wanton killings of scrap metal scavengers by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in two Local Government Areas.
The security operatives have also commence detailed investigation into activities of the scrap metal dealers with a view of finding out if they are involved in criminal or illegal vandalism of private and government properties across the state.
At least 55 scrap metal scavengers were recently killed in two Local Government Areas of Kalabalge and Dikwa, a situation which prompted the state Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum to hand down directive to security agencies to unravel causes of the killings target at scavengers.
Briefing Journalists in Maiduguri the Borno State capital at the State Mechanical Workshop where impounded trucks loaded with scrap metals were displayed, the Commissioner of Police ( CP) Abdu Umar who spoke on behalf of heads of security agencies in the state said that recent killings have been targeted at scrap metal scavengers.
He expressed worry that after inspecting the impounded trucks loaded with scrap metals at the State Mechanical Workshop, there was nothing found to be incriminating.
CP Umar however said that the increasing killings targeting at scrap metal scavengers has become worrisome, hence the need to carry out a thorough investigation and fish out perpetrators of the crime.
” We are interrogating the whole issue with a view to coming up with concrete report to serve the government so that the government will in turn come up with a policy that will regulate scrap metal businesses in the state. ” Umar said.
The CP added that “Government had serious and terrible experiences where its infrastructures have been vandalised and individual vehicles were cannibalized in recent times.”
The Borno Police Boss noted that the security situation surrounding killing of the alleged scrap metal dealers popularly known as Ajaokuta, became more worrisome when the leader of the the scrap dealers association in the state revealed that none of their members were killed.
” To our greatest suprise , the Chairman of the Scrap Dealers Association said none of the scavengers killed in Kalabalge and Dikwa Local Government Areas are their members. This is the reason why we must investigate deeply. ”
The Chairman of the Scrap Dealers Association in Borno State Alhaj Umar Usman had said that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) scavenging for scrap metals were those killed in Kalabalge and Dikwa and not his members.
” As far as I am concerned as the Chairman of scrap dealers association with over 3000 members here in Borno State, none of my members were killed in Kalabalge and Dikwa. Those killed were IDPs scavenging for scrap metals to sell and feed their families ” Usman said
Hussaini Hamza, one of the scrap dealers whose truck load of scrap metal was intercepted by security operatives in the last six months want the government to hasten up its investigation and allow him and his colleagues go back to their business.
” I don’t buy or sell vandalised government or private individual properties; most of us only buy scrap metals after due investigation and in the presence of village heads , community leaders and local security operatives. I have lots of dependants, the government should please hasten its investigation ” Hamza pleaded.