Maiduguri — Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday directed a newly constituted management committee to take full charge of Maiduguri Cattle Market and Abattoir, scrutinizing sources of all cattle, and placed a ban on sale of dry meat and imports of cattle into the metropolis through various routes across the state. He spoke in Maiduguri while inaugurating a new management committee made up of representatives of the military, police, the Department of State Security, 'Civilian JTF' and the state government officials, saying, the committee should henceforth scrutinize sources of all cattle, delay slaughter of certified cattle for claims.
Shettima lamented that insurgents have devised a new means of using "unscrupulous middlemen" to sell stolen cattle at the Gamboru Cattle Market in Maiduguri with proceeds used to fund terror activities.
Shettima, whose written message was read by Secretary to the Borno State Government, Alhaji Usman Jidda Shuwa at the inauguration of the 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 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 their deadly activities. 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," he said.
The governor also noted that the discovery had led to the closure of the temporary closure of the market by security agencies in the state. The governor also announced a ban on importation of cattle into the state for the time being. He 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."
He added: "All trading activities at the Gamboru cattle markets, Dusuman, Shuwari and Ngom are suspended until further notice in line with the government's commitment to ensuring that no public place is turned into an avenue for funding of insurgents."
The governor said he would hold members of the committee responsible if trading of stolen cattle continues in any market. He 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.