By: Kebba AF Touray
The Director General of the Gambia Livestock Management Agency (GLMA), Mr Demba Jallow, has appeared before the Public Petitions Committee to update the committee about the animal theft case in Wuli East.
The petition, submitted by the Wuli East Animal Protection Association, alleged that the police in the area are not cooperative in the efforts to put an end to the practice and they have failed to enforce the revocation of Amadou Gaggigo’s license to operate as butcher by GLMA.
Director Jallow told the committee that the agency was enacted in 2010 by an Act of Parliament, with the mandate to promote the commercialization and marketing of livestock in the Gambia, as well as to facilitate the participation of Gambians in marketing of livestock.
He said the mandate of the agency includes regulating the key players market, that is the butchers and the dealers, and the agency is empowered to register them annually as stated in the Act, such as issuing license, permits and certificates to the players.
He said: “In the act, to be a butcher means that a person who holds a license authorizing him or her to practice a trade of butchery, issued by the agency under the Act. An authorized buyer is also a person who holds a livestock buying permit, authorizing him or her to purchase livestock directly from the farmers or producers for the purpose of trade.”
He said the conditions for issuing a license to a person, include but not limited to, that the applicant whether Gambian or Non-Gambian. But for Gambians, one must have a valid ID card, while non-Gambians must have a valid alien or residential permit and the payment of a fixed price as may be given by the agency and must be counter signed by the local government representative. He said the applicant must not also be a convict of any offence related to the work.
The committee asked: “Is it part of your mandate to revoke a license?”
DG Jallow replied: “We can revoke a license or permit based on factors such as if the holder of the permit contravenes a provision of this Act or a condition such as buying and selling of livestock as are attached to the permit.”
“Do you know a gentleman called Amadou Gagigo and that are you aware that his license was revoked by GLMA Officials in the area?” the committee further asked.
DG Jallow told the committee that he has never met Amadou Gaggigo, but admitted receiving verbal complains about him severally from the GLMA Field Staff in the person of Bakary Kora, who he said wrote a letter for the revocation and withdrawal of the license of Amadou Gaggigo.
This, he said, was due to grounds that Amadou Gaggigo has been accused of and in some cases caught red handed in stealing animals. He said on the following day, he received a letter from the Chief of Wuli East, Sorry Minteh Juwara, and some members of the association.
He said they asked their officials to retrieve the permit from Amadou Gaggigo, but that prior to submitting his permit to the police, he made a copy of the permit, which he retained and continued operating.
He said: “The matter was reported to the police but the police asked what they could do.” He added they told the Police that the license was revoked by his agency.
The committee also asked: “Whether the police were cooperative with the GLMA and that the police say that they are not familiar with the GLMA Act and as a result cannot enforce the Act”.
He said: “The police were highly uncooperative with GLMA and the animal association in dealing with the practice and they obviously know that Gaggigo’s license was revoked and ignorance of the law is not an excuse.”
On the Police receiving gifts in the form of meat from Amadou, he told the committee that both the Police and Amadou admitted receiving gift in the form of meat from Gaggigo.
“Is there need to have an MoU between GLMA and the Police for the police to enforce the revocation of the license,” quizzed the committee.
He said since the police knew that Amadou was not allowed to engage in the buying and selling of livestock in the country, they should have effected an arrest on him.
He added that the fact that Gagiggo continued the trade after the cancellation of his license, coupled with reproduction of the license prior to submission to the police was sufficient for the police to arrest Gaggigo.
When asked about his knowledge on the suit Amadou brought in court against GLMA Officials following the cancellation of his license, he said he was aware of the case but Amadou finally lost to the GLMA due to lack of substantial evidence against their official in the area.