The measures adopted by the Kaduna State government to end cattle rustling and armed banditry is yielding positive result, as no fewer than 19,000 cows stolen from herdsmen in various parts of the state have been recovered.
Security operatives, who made the recovery also arrested some suspected rustlers.
A spokesman for the Governor, Mr Yakubu Yusuf, announced the recovery on Thursday during the handing over of recovered stolen cows and goats to their respective owners in Kagarko and Kachia Local Government Areas of the state.
He says the state government is not leaving any stone un-turned in the ongoing effort to flush cattle rustlers and other criminal elements out of the State.
Cattle rustling has become an emerging security challenge that has continued to threaten human security and economic activities in the rural pastoralists’ communities and commercial farms in Kaduna State, and some other parts of Northern Nigeria.
The human cost associated with such attacks is immense, as several herders and farmers have been killed by the armed bandits.
Early this year, the livestock raiders attacked about six farms in a span of one week in Kachia Local Government Area and stole over a hundred cattle, killing one herdsman.
Within the same period, the thieves invaded another farm in Dinki village along the Kaduna-Zaria road, where they stole about 105 cattle including sheep and goats. A security guard on duty also lost his life during the attack.
The thieves attacked herders’ camps in Jere Town and adjoining towns in April this year, where they stole about 203 cattle also in two days.
Most of the animal rustlers in Kaduna and neighbouring states live in the thick forest of Kamuku, in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of the state, according to security operatives.
Worried over the growing rate of the crime in the state, the state government inaugurated a committee comprising of security operatives from the Nigerian Police, Army and Air Force. So far, their operations have started yielding positive result, with huge recoveries made.
Mr Yusuf, who is the Governor’s security adviser, explained that the recovery was made possible through intelligence information from members of the public.
He applauded the contribution of security operatives in ensuring that the activities of rustlers and other criminals were reduced to the barest minimum across the state.
He also added that security agents in the state had so far recovered over 19, 000 cows since the government began efforts to rid the state of cattle rustlers over a year ago adding that the outfit had set up collation centres for the recovered animals in Birnin Gwari, Zaria, Kachia and Jere.
“Recently, there were two operations conducted by our operatives. The first operation was conducted in October 2016, which recovered 95 animals, then the second and third operations were conducted on the 28 and 29 of the same month where we recovered a total of 312 cows. This operation was conducted by our Sector one of Operation Yaki which comprises of Nigerian Army, Police and the Navy that are in Kachia. It was as a result of the information that we got from people that led to the successful operation.
“We most especially commend the leadership of Miyetti Allah in Kaduna State. They are doing a good job, they led us into this operation and we made these recovery.
“Today in Jere, we are handing over 144 animals we recovered from rustlers to their owners. The operation was very successful, and I want to thank security operatives for their effort, because it is a great achievement. We also appreciate the leadership of Miyetti Allah for their cooperation and for given us useful information that led to the successful operation”.
A major boost to the operation is the recovery of over 600 stolen cows by the operatives of the Nigerian Air Force under the ‘Operation SHARAN DAJI’.
The commander of 335 Base Group, who handed over the recovered animals to representative of the Kaduna State government at the Air Force Base in Mando, Air Commodore Bello Garba , says the operation is in line with the directive of the Chief of Air Staff .
He pledges the continuous support of security agencies in bringing animal rustling to an end.
“You will recall that about two months ago that the Chief of Air Staff reiterated the fact that the Nigerian Airforce will continue to give full support as regards to internal security in Kaduna State.
“And about four weeks ago, I handed over some stolen vehicles and some cultists called Sara Suka that killed and hacked some people to the Commissioner of Police.
“We will not relent in our effort, we will continue our search for the bandits. We are taking the war to them. And that was what led to our successful operation at Rima village where we recovered over 600 stolen cows from the rustlers. Rima village is a thick forest and that was where we caught those bandits,” Air Commodore Garba said.
After Air Commodore Garba spoke, members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, led by Mr Ahmadu Sulaiman, commend the security agencies and Kaduna State government for their effort in flushing rustlers out of the state.
Attacks on pastoralists have become a reoccurring thing in Kaduna State and in most cases herders’ camps are displaced.
The emergence of the joint task force operation against cattle rustling and armed banditry, Operation SHARAN DAJI, had given impetus to efforts to bring the crimes to the barest minimum.