Closure Of Cattle Market Leads To Crisis In Maiduguri

Abatoir

The closure of the cattle market and central abattoir in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, by the military is causing some disquiet among cattle breeders and residents, some of who foretell a health crisis if they continue to be denied access to protein in their diet.

Residents of the capital city have had to forgo meat in their diet for about three weeks following the closure of the cattle market in Maiduguri, along with the central abattoir, where meat is sold.

The military authorities reportedly took the decision to close the market and abattoir based on suspicions that members of the Boko Haram insurgency group bring stolen livestock to the market to sell.

It was, indeed, gathered that cattle breeders in the state have complained several times that members of the group have attacked them and stolen their livestock. It is believed that the proceeds from the sale of such stolen livestock are one of the ways by which the Boko Haram members prosecute the insurgency in the North east.

The military, it is believed, therefore closed down the cattle market to shut off that stream of income for the insurgents. However, the decision has not gone down well with many people in the state who criticise it as ill advised. Many people have had rely on buying fish in the absence of meat, a situation that has led to the cost of fish skyrocketing in Maiduguri, thus taking it out of the reach of most residents.

Apart from residents who bemoan the lack of protein in their diet, the Borno State branch of National Association of Butchers on Monday condemned the closure of the cattle market and abattoir, lamenting that it has left its members without a means of livelihood for weeks.

Addressing a press conference at the Ramat Shopping Complex, Maiduguri, the chairman of the butchers association, Abubakar Gula, said that the closure of cattle market and abattoir had led to “socio-economic hardships and traumas” for over a million of its members.

He said the appeals by the association and the Livestock Traders Association to the military, the Shehu of Borno and other relevant authorities to reverse the decision to close the facilities closure, had fallen on deaf ears, as they remain shut.






     

     

    “Right from the leaders of Sector 11 of the military, up to the General Officer Commanding, 7 Division of Nigerian Army and the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, we laid our complaints over the closures of the market and abattoir, but the representative of GOC, told us he will look into our complaints, loss of jobs and meat,” Gula recalled.

    He lamented that after their visit to the GOC, “the abattoir and the cattle market were sealed off from transacting any business in the livestock industry, including the daily slaughters of 180- 250 cattle and 600-700 sheep and goats in the abattoir.”

    Gula stated that over 200,040 butchers have been affected by the closure of the abattoir. Even then, he said that members of the butchers association will not allow anyone to slaughter livestock for sale so that the authorities do not accuse them of breaching the closure order.

    He also pointed out that the military should have found other means of dealing with the problem of cattle rustling by insurgents, reasoning that the blanket ban on the killing and sale of livestock at the abattoir is rash and counterproductive as it punishes innocent residents and others engaged in legitimate business.

     

     

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