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Governor lays foundation stone for remodelled international cattle market in Banki

16 February 2024
Reading time: 4 minutes

Largest livestock market in the Lake Chad Basin district will accommodate traders, stimulate economic activities by bolstering transborder commerce, and create employment opportunities

The remodelled international cattle market in Banki, Borno State, will boost foreign exchange, promote transborder trade and provide much-needed employment.

Borno State governor Babagana Umara Zulum officially commissioned the market on Tuesday, February 13, promising that it will be completed within 90 days.

Addressing journalists after laying down the foundation stone for what will be the largest cattle market in the Lake Chad Basin region, Zulum said the market would not only boost trade in the state but also help to stimulate Nigeria’s ailing economy.

The Banki market in the Bama Local Government Area will comprise 128 shops and about 440 stalls. It will be equipped with modern facilities, including clean water and sanitation.

Zulum said the market would provide a conducive trading environment for small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs.

Its location close to Nigeria’s border with Cameroon was expected to encourage and boost transborder trade.

Traders from Cameroon, Chad and the Central Africa Republic boycotted the market for years because of conflict in the region. It was deserted when Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād (JAS), better known as Boko Haram, fighters seized and took control of it at the peak of the insurgency.

Zulum and Mijinyawa Bakari, the governor of the Far Northern region of Cameroon, pledged that they would fortify transborder ties to amplify commercial endeavours along the shared border.

Zulum told journalists it was imperative that economic exchanges between the two countries be restored.

“Recently we completed the construction of a cattle market in Gamboru Ngala [also on the border with Cameroon]. We will ensure the prompt release of funds for the building of the international cattle market project in Banki which I believe will be completed in 90 days.”

Zulum urged authorities in Cameroon to promote transborder trade and to secure the borders to ensure the safety of traders from the two countries.

Bakari said the market would enable both nations to explore fresh commercial prospects.

Alhaji Munyam Banki, a member of the Borno State ministry for reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement, said: “The market has been functioning for quite a long time and it’s the biggest cattle market in the Lake Chad Basin region. Before insurgents destroyed it, marketers and traders from Chad and Cameroon came here [to Banki] to buy and sell cattle. It was a bustling and thriving market before insurgents destroyed it, chasing away traders from Chad and Cameroon. Because of the danger, the market was deserted.

“We have high hopes it will be completed within three to six months as the governor promised and then it will be fully functioning. Transborder livestock trade will go back to what it was before the insurgents took control.”

Bawuje Goni Mohammed, the vice-chairman of the Borno Central Livestock Dealers’ Association, told RNI that once the market was up and running, trade in the Lake Chad Basin region would be revived.

“We expect business to boom when the market is fully functioning. Traders will come from all over Nigeria as well as from Chad and Cameroon.”

Alhaji Bukar Mustapha, a lecturer in economics at the Borno State University in Maiduguri, said: “The governor’s intention of reconstructing and remodelling the cattle market to meet international standards is a very good idea because it will help to boost the economy of not only the state but also the entire country. The market will be the biggest of its kind in the Lake Chad Basin region.

“Agriculture as a whole will improve. One of the major problems Nigeria faces now is food insecurity. Since livestock rearing and farming go hand in hand, both sectors will boost the country’s ailing economy.

“It will provide job opportunities and this is crucial because of the escalating unemployment in Borno and the whole of Nigeria, particularly among the youths. Once the market is fully functioning it will also boost foreign exchange earnings.”

While in Banki, Zulum announced that the Borno State government would enhance teachers’ welfare in the town by building a housing estate, comprising five two-bedroom units.



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