The scarcity of beef has hit Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, following the continued closure of Kasuwan Shanu Cattle Market and Abattoir by the Nigerian Army, due to insurgency.
The Acting Director of Information of the Nigerian Army, Col. Sani Usman, last month announced the closure of some markets in Borno and Yobe suspected to be used as channels for the supply of food and other essential items to the insurgents.
When the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) monitored the situation on Tuesday, it observed that the closure had created scarcity of the beef as most butchers were rendered jobless.
The situation also forced some families to look for alternatives such as fish and even grasshoppers as sources of protein.
A food vendor, Mrs Hajja Gonari, said that the situation had affected her business negatively.
“We have to switch over to using fish in our meals due to the absence of beef in the market.
“Since both fresh and dry fish cost more than the ordinary beef, most customers prefer to take their meal without anything.
“This is actually affecting our sales as we record low patronage daily,” she said.
Corroborating the views of Gonari, another food Seller, Maman Baby, appealed to the Nigerian Army to consider the hardship being faced by residents and re-open the market and the abattoir.
A resident of Maiduguri, Malam Asheikh Ahmed, who expressed shock at the development, said that it was sad that the entire people had to pay for the crime of a few individuals in the society.
“I think that the army should fish out individuals selling cows to suspected Boko Haram and prosecute them rather than place a blanket ban on the cattle market,” Ahmed said.
He appealed to the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Garbai, to intervene and ensure that the market and the abattoir were re-opened.
Meanwhile, the Borno chapter of National Association of Butchers (NASB) has appealed to the army authorities to re-open the market, being the source of employment to no fewer than one million youths in the state.
The Chairman of the association, Alhaji Abubakar Gula, noted that the closure of the cattle market and abattoir had caused a lot of socio-economic hardships to the members. (NAN)