The Borno Government on Friday banned the sale of dried meat in order to curtail the activities of Boko Haram terrorists currently engaged in cattle rusting to fund their operations.
Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno announced the ban at the inauguration of a committee for the management of the Maiduguri Cattle Market in Maiduguri.
Mr. Shettima, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Jidda Shuwa, said the government had also suspended importation of cattle to the state capital for the next two weeks.
Mr. Shettima said only the Butchers Association and Cattle Traders Association were permitted to slaughter and sell cattle in the market.
“Importation of cattle to the state capital through all routes and all sources other than the cattle traders association is hereby suspended for two weeks.
“In the same vein, the sale of dried meat is hereby banned, as it had been observed that criminal elements resort to this measure to legitimize their dubious activities ultimately aimed at funding activities of Boko Haram”, he said.
Mr. Shettima said the government had also suspended trading in four livestock markets – Gamboru, Dusuman, Shuwarin and Ngom to further ensure that only legitimate cattle were sold at the market.
Mr. Shettima said the government took the action after intelligence reports by security agencies indicated that the cattle market was being used by suspected Boko Haram terrorists to channel rustled cows for sale to unsuspecting members of the public.
“You will recall that cattle market in the metropolis was closed down and all trade suspended by our security agencies following significant intelligence report that the place had been turned commercial stronghold of insurgency with serious security implication on the wellbeing of our people.
“Evidence available to security agencies show that most of the cattle being traded at the market were the direct proceeds of cattle rustling perpetrated by the Boko Haram terrorists.
“They are sold at prohibitive cost to unsuspecting customers through some unscrupulous middle men,” he said.
“The money realised from such transactions will then be channelled to fund the deadly activities of the terrorists.
“Consequently, the terrorists feel they have discovered new source of resuscitating their infrastructure with a view to re-commencing their atrocities.”
He, however, noted that the action of the security agencies had resulted in scarcity of beef in the metropolis and the need for government to take action.
“One of the unforeseen consequences of the market closure is the shortage of meat supply which had led to outcry by members of the public who have been agitating for the market’s re-opening.
“In order to satisfy the legitimate demand of the people to end the shortage of meat supply, it has become imperative for government to sanitize the market and streamline the entire process to ensure that all commercial activities are carried out legitimately with effective monitoring,” Mr. Shettima said.
He reiterated that the committee was set up to sanitise the market and ensure its smooth running.
“The committee will be primarily responsible for the running of the market.
“In addition, government, after consultation with relevant stakeholders, have decided to introduce measures for immediate implementation.
“This includes the release of N100 million as soft loan to the cattle traders and butchers in the market.
“The cattle traders association will be given N75 million, while the butchers association will get N25 million.”
Mr. Shettima said the loan was given to the two organisations because they were the legitimate bodies mandated to conduct business activities at the market.
“No individual or organisation with the exception of these bodies is authorised to conduct business in the market”, he said.