Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State set up a committee to handle the menace of cattle rustlers in the North. In his interview with SADIQ SHAMSU ABUBAKAR, Murtala Sule Garu, Commissioner for Local Government, Chairman of the committee, says that Governor Ganduje’s concern is for the committee to act with prudence in discharging the task and confidence reposed on them. He says they were urged to return retrieved cattle to their owners without favour or manipulations.
REPORTS that about 5,450 stolen cows have been retrieved with 2,000 retrieved in Kano, will the exercise continue?
In fact, I will start by commending the Governor, Emir of Kano, the Commissioner of Police, Brigade Commander and the Director of State Security Service (SSS), respectively, for their untiring efforts in this exercise which has saved the Fulanis from the menace of losing their inherited wealth to these men of evil who for decades had a field day rustling cows from the owners for unjustifiable reasons because of the lingering insecurity in the country.
Their joint efforts have, indeed, increased the tempo of the exercise. We are now expanding the operation to other areas such as Falgore, Kumu in Sumaila Local Government Area, among others. The State Commissioner of Police and his men are always in those forests where the suspects are hiding to make sure there are no hideouts. The State Government has also requested for the forests to be captured by professional photographers for feasibility studies of how to locate more hideouts of the cattle rustlers.
With this development the Commissioner of Police had adopted routine operations to uproot entirely all the bases of the cow thieves in the state. He has attached importance to these operations such that he had stationed some of his men in some hot spots and key areas where the rustlers easily attack the innocent Fulanis and do away with their cows.
The retrieved cattle are Kept at three places – Dawakin Kudu, Falgore and Kumu; while at the end of every successful operation, the Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Muhammad Musa Katsina, quickly informs the Governor for fast arrangements on how to convey the cows to those locations for onward distribution to their owners. There are also well armed Police officers stationed at every distribution point.
When the governor is informed, the committee will arrange long vehicles to convey the cattle to the various locations. While they are kept there, the committee through the financial support of the leader of African Fulako, provides means for their feeding, medication and any other veterinary attention prior to the distribution. Verifications are done at Dawakin Kudu only and thoroughly.
The claimer goes through the following verifications by the committee, some of the committee members will be dispatched to the town or village of a claimer for a vivid cross checking of the information he gave to the committee which include name of the local government, town or village, the village or town head, information from the people of any missing cow, former report of the matter to village head, district Head as well as the nearby Police, if there is any.
When that is done and satisfied to the committee, the owner will go ahead to identify his cows perhaps, calling them with names to further prove ownership of the number of his cows. Recently, there were about 472 cattle recovered at Seyaseya Sumaila Local Government Area and we were duly informed for fast conveyance to the nearest location as the Commissioner of Police warned that the assailants were chased out and are suspected to be hanging around.
Is this the arrangement your committee met or you designed and adopted it when you were assigned the responsibility?
When the Governor inaugurated the committee, he appointed me to be the chairman. He warned us to be vigilant and careful as we assimilate facts of the owners before handing over a cow to perspective claimer; directed urgent return of recovered cattle to owner. So, the first thing we thought of doing is to adopt measures that lead us to unfold any misgiving in respect of any person who approaches the committee to claim a stolen animal, be it cow, sheep, ram, goat or dog. So, in essence, it is the work of the committee and not inherited. Another development is how we decided to hold our meetings there, where the cattle are kept for distribution rather than holding it in the city; perhaps, pay for the venue just to add cost which is indeed not justifiable. We go there in the morning, 10.00am, stay there till evening at every sitting.
In our case, everything we do is in the interest of the state government, the confidence and trust reposed on us. It is our integrity that we consider at stake that must be protected.
Is there any stipulated time for the committee to conclude this exercise or what arrangement do you have with the state government?
The State Security Service (SSS) made us to understand that there are thousands of cattle in the bush and they are unrelenting in studying other methods to capture the rustlers and their booties. No one can tell when exactly the exercise will come an end. The Commissioner of Police has placed gates at vintage points where they suspect the rustlers can come out to graze the cattle and also find something to eat. So, with this hunger, alone, could trigger them to find alternative at the targeted outlets for arrest.
The last arrest was similar to what I said. They came out in disguise as nomadic Fulanis who were on their way to graze the cattle but the Police suspected their movement. When they confronted them, they open fire but the well trained security forces to counteract and defeated them. So, I can assure you that with full backing of the state government and the (SSS), most especially, the Commissioner of Police, we are making progress.
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