The Zamfara State government has directed animal sellers to take pictures with their animals to confirm that they are the real owners.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Bello Dankande, who issued the directive yesterday in Gusau during a meeting with animal dealers and transporters, said the move became necessary to check activities of rustlers who have continued to find their ways to market to sell stolen animals.
He stated that the state government would station photographers at approved animal markets who would take pictures of all intending animal sellers after they had been screened and confirmed as the rightful owners of such animals by the market authorities.
The commissioner added that the state government would work in partnership with security agents to carry out the new policy aimed at frustrating bandits and cattle rustlers from moving with stolen animals.
“This picture will not exempt any animal seller throughout the state; the seller must carry along his government approved picture with his animal, be it cow, donkey, camel, sheep or horse,” he said.
Dankande stressed that the order also affects movement with large amount of fresh meat, usually transported by motorcyclists from one location to another, especially in the villages, saying such meat must also be cleared by the authorities, explaining that the order would become effective from next Monday, December 10 and that any animal dealer, transporter or traditional ruler found violating it would face the full wrath of the law.
The Emir of Bungudu, Alhaji Hassan Attahiru, commended the initiative and attributed the proliferation of the animal business by bandits to the support the rustlers received from middlemen at such markets.
He urged the state government to closely monitor activities of middlemen through the new measure.
The state Chairman of Animals Transporters Association, Alhaji Garba Gusau, expressed his members’ commitment to exposing any suspicious rustler, but appealed for security cover for the safety of his members.
The state has suffered from the activities of bandits, kidnappers and rustlers for over five years, with both the state and federal government introducing various security measures to check the menace.