The Borno state government has suspended trading in four livestock markets in the state in order to curtail the activities of Boko Haram insurgents who fund their operations through cattle rustling.
Kashim Shettima, governor of the state, announced this at the inauguration of a committee for the management of the Maiduguri Cattle Market.
Represented by Jidda Shuwa, secretary to the state government, Shettima said the government had also suspended importation of cattle to the state capital for the next two weeks.
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,” he said.
“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.
“All trading activities in Gamboru Cattle Market, Dusuman, Shuwari and Ngom have been suspended till further notice in line with government’s commitment to ensure that no public place is turned to avenue for funding activities of the terrorists.”
Shettima said the government took the action after intelligence reports by security agencies indicated that the cattle markets were being used by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“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 regretted that the closure of the markets had led to the scarcity of beef in state, expressing the belief that the situation would improve after the government sanitizes the market.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
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