The Borno State Government has announced a ban on importation of cattle through various routes as well as the sale of dry meat in Maiduguri, the state capital, as the government looks to block all sources of revenue for the Boko Haram insurgents as well check the activities of cattle rustlers.
Governor Kashim Shettima disclosed this while inaugurating a committee to take full charge of the Maiduguri Cattle Market.
The committee which consists of representatives of the Nigerian military, police, the Department of State Security, civilian JTF and Government officials is charged with the responsibility of taking full charge of the market as well as the scrutiny of sources of all cattle, slaughter of certified cattle for claims.
Shettima, who was represented by the Secretary to the Borno State Government, Alhaji 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 the 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 transaction would then be channelled to fund the deadly activities of the insurgents.”
He further stated that 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.
Following these development, Governor Shettima said, the putting in place the committee to take over the markets became necessary, so as to resume normal activities in the market through proper monitoring.
“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, he stated.
“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.
“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,” Shettima said.
The governor said henceforth, 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.
“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,” he said.
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.