Sola Ojo, Kaduna
1 Division Nigerian Army yesterday handed over 120 cows and 14 sheep recovered from bandits suspected to have rustled them somewhere along Kaduna-Abuja highway.
Garrison Commander, I Division, Brigadier General Jimmy Akpor, who led the team, said the animals were recovered as result of the ongoing operation Thunder Strike around Ligari general area, Sabon Gaya, Chikun Local Government Area of the state.
He said: “We are handling these suspected rustled cows and sheep that have been recovered by personnel of operation Thunder Strike to the representative of Kaduna State government.
“The cows were recovered a few days ago in Ligari general area. There are so many means through which we get information and based on that we plan our operations. One hundred and twenty cows and about 14 sheep were recovered, and one of them gave birth to two calves this morning.
“One dangerous trend we have seen is that most of the rustlers do contract innocent young boys to rear the stolen animals for them.
“In this instance, although the bandit was injured, he was able to manage to lead the troops to his camp where we saw the 120 cows being tendered by a minor. We are yet to trace his parents as at the time we are doing this handing over because the animals need care.”
Fielding questions from the newsmen after receiving the animals along Kaduna-Abuja highway, coordinator of the state’s local security outfit, Operation Yaki, and Special Adviser to Governor Nasir El-Rufai on internal security, AIG Murtala Abbas (rtd) said, the animals would be handed to the rightful owners after ownership is proved beyond reasonable doubt.
“As usual, having received the cows from the Garrison Commander, the next thing is to hand over the animals to the CID for investigation. Modalities have been set for the claimants of these animals if there is.
“If we are satisfied that they are the owners of these animals, we will hand over them. They have to indicate for example, the date, time and number of animals stolen, which will form the basis of the recovery. That we will do even before we allow them to see the animals,” he said.
When he was asked what happens to the animals in case nobody came to claim them, he said: “We have categories of exhibits. There are exhibits we call perishable exhibits, and these animals belong to that category.
“If after sometime, there are no claimants or there are remainders, then the police will approach the court so that they can be auctioned,” he added.