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Military ban on importation of livestock cripples business in Borno ahead of Sallah

Military ban on importation of livestock cripples business in Borno ahead of Sallah

- The Borno State Livestock Traders Association and National Association of Butchers (NASB) have threatened to shut down sales of livestock

- This is following he ban on importation and sales of livestock in Maiduguri Cattle Market by the Nigerian military.

- The ban on importation has however, crippled the business of animal husbandry, butchery and sales of beef in Borno state

Members of the Borno State Livestock Traders Association and the National Association of Butchers (NASB) last week threatened to shut down sales of livestock in the state in protest against the ban on their business by the Nigerian military, Premium Times.

About five months ago, the theatre command in Maiduguri ordered the ban on importation and sales of livestock in Maiduguri Cattle Market because most cows and sheep sold at the market belonged to Boko Haram fighters.

The military also said Boko Haram insurgents usually used local vendors to flock in stolen cows for sale in markets around Borno and Yobe states in exchange for cash or food items that are usually taken back to them in their hideouts.

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Only cows sourced within the communities around Maiduguri are allowed for sale at the Maiduguri cattle market, which is one of the largest in the country.

In addition the military also directed even the locally sourced cows can only be sold with its permission.

To ensure the ban does not have too much negative consequences, the Borno state government set up a committee for the cattle market to also ensure no stolen or Boko Haram rustled cows are sold.

Part of the committee’s job is to ensure that any cow brought into the market is held for at least three days before it is put up for sale. This process, the committee said, will enable the market confirm the cows were not stolen.

Sayina Buba, who heads the government committee on Maiduguri cattle markets said: “For five months running we have not seen a single cow or sheep that has been stolen or brought in on behalf of Boko Haram, despite the claims of the military.”

The ban on importation has however, crippled the business of animal husbandry, butchery and sales of beef in Borno state. This has forced local traders out of business as many of them, especially those who benefit from the value chain effects of the livestock sales, find it difficult to make ends meet.

The traders have become more worried when they noticed that other cattle markets in Kukareta, Gaidam and Potiskum all in Yobe state, which had been issued similar ban, are now allowed to import cows even from outside Nigeria.

According to Buba, there are thousands of cows in Chad and Niger denied entry into the Maiduguri market by the military.

It was for that reason that the livestock traders moved to embark on a peaceful protest by shutting down the markets until the military lifts the ban on importation of cows and other livestock into the market.

Muhammad Klia, the chairman of the Borno Livestock Traders Association, said, “the decision of the army to ban transporters from bringing in cows into Borno State is unfair, and not well thought out because one does not cut off his or her leg because one of the toes has become jaundiced.

“It is an unfair decision because this is what our livelihoods depend on and now there is rising demands of animals in the state,” he added.

He said: “They said there are people coming into the market with cows stolen by Boko Haram and we stood with the government committee to ensure every cow is screened before sales. And for over five months now, no single cow that was marked stolen was sold here.

“We have our Civilian JTF, Police, Vigilante and even the military and other security operatives attached to provide civic protection in the market. If there is any form of nefarious activities as acclaimed by the military, they will be the first to know.”

“So we decided to embark on protest by closing down the market last week, but the government intervened and calmed us down. But we may have to go on with the protest in due course especially now that the Sallah period is around the corner and there is no animal to be sold.”

One of the members of the aggrieved group and an international livestock trader, Idris Muhammad, told journalists that his business has since been liquidated due to the inability to transport his cattle and rams from Chad to Borno state.

Muhammed explained that the period of Eid el-Kabir (Sallah) they transport more than 200, 000 cattle and sheep. But with the ban, most of them are left in debts as they could not import after ordering for rams ahead the festive seasons.

Sayina Buba, who chairs the government market committee, said the military must understand that the means of livelihood of traders in livestock industry is being threatened.

The chairman insisted that the claims of the military about Boko Haram sending in stolen cows are not verifiable.

He lamented that the prices of animals in the state has since tripled due to the inability of traders to bring in their animals into the state.

Onyema Nwachukwu, a Deputy Director Army Public Relations (DDAPR), reacting to the issue, denied the claims that the military’s action was deliberately stifling businesses in the state.

PAY ATTENTION: Read the news on Nigeria’s #1 new app previously reported that the Sultan of Sokoto and president general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, has declared Sunday, August 12 as the first day of the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah.

This was contained in a statement released on Sunday, August 12, by the deputy secretary general of the NSCIA, Prof Salisu Shehu.

The statement said, after due consultation with scholars, the National Moon Sighting Committee (NMSC) and the Fatwa Committee of the NSCIA, it was decided that the dates of Dhul-Qa’adah be adjusted to make Sunday, August 12, 2018, the 1st day of Dhul-Hijjah, 1439AH.

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