By Josephine Ella-Ejeh
Concerned by the recurring incidents of cattle rustling, prevalent across the country, Zycom Surveillance Nigeria Limited, Datamars of Switzerland in partnership with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), on Thursday, launched the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID), capable of eradicating the menace cattle rustling and related incidents.
At the official launch and demonstration of the Cattle Tracking and Monitoring Technology Solutions in Abuja, Zycom’s Vice President, Special Duties, Dr Muhammad Raji Mahmud hinted that the technology will not only protect cattle from theft but, also monitor and track the movement and health of livestock.
He said the idea was borne out of the need to put an end to the issue of cattle rustling which does not only hamper the business of cattle rearing but, as well portend high security risk to the lives of cattle breeders.
Mahmud, who disclosed that he and close family members had been victims of culprits, said “the criminal practice of cattle rustling has emerged as a major security challenge in Nigeria and portends serious socio-economic and cultural consequences for our society and our way of life if left unchecked.”
“Economically, it constitutes a major threat to the livelihood of herders, their business and survival,” he elaborated, adding that socio-politically, “rustling activities have resulted in deaths, losses and destruction of lives and property, thereby endangering peace and security.”
He said: “Psychologically, a vast majority of people have been disposed of their belongings and families have been traumatised, raped and kidnapping has caused psychological trauma.”
He listed the main features of the technology to include: “to provide unique identity to each cattle, track and locate each cattle anywhere locally and globally, to remotely monitor cattle temperature, track movement of cattle on grazing routes and intervene for compliance corrective action when a herdsman violates grazing route rules.”
He disclosed that Zycom would subsequently partner with Federal, State and Local authorities as well as commercial and privately owned cattle ranches to ensure seamless deployment and application of the technology.
Speaking at the event, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello pledged the support of the FCT Administration towards successful application of the cutting edge solutions to cattle rustling and illegal grazing in the Territory.
Bello, who was Special Guest of Honour at the launch, expressed hope that the tracking technology would proffer solutions to the menace of cattle rustling and associated criminalities.
He also anticipated it would significantly reduce herder/farmers clashes in the country.
Represented at the occasion by the Director of Administration and Finance, FCT Agriculture & Rural Development Secretariat, Alh.Musa Abdulraheem,
the Minister hoped, the solutions would have an added benefit of ensuring enforcement action against the grazing of cattle in unauthorized areas of the Federal Capital Territory.
Meanwhile, unveiling the technology, the Business Development Management for Datamars Switzerland, Joroen Bolscher said, the significant presence of cattle breeders and stakeholders at the launch was to allow access to a significant pool of commercial and privately held cattle ranches and owners in order to deploy and demonstrates the efficacy of technology.
He disclosed that the device is already in use in Australia, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and other countries, declaring that it had proved effective in the tracking and traceability of not only cattle but also other livestock in these places.
He further explained that it works by the instrumentality of a chip which when inserted in the abdomen of the cattle gives it a unique identification number traceable by the Global Positioning System (GPS) anywhere in the world.
He showcased the efficacy of both the tracking and geo-fencing technologies which enables tracing of cattle and mapping of cattle grazing routes to ensure compliance and issue alerts to authorities in cases of violation by herders.
On his part, while delivering his goodwill message at the occasion, the Chairman Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) Alh. Isa Yahaya, welcomed the innovative device and prayed that the technology would put an end to the menace of cattle rustling in Nigeria.
He reiterated that cattle rearing have become a national concern as ownership of cattle in Nigeria was no longer restricted to the Fulani alone but cuts across ethnicities, religion and social strata.
“Cases abound where a cattle breeder would wake up overnight and find that he has been dispossessed of over a lifelong stock of cattle,” Yahaya added, expressing optimism that the success of the application in Abuja would enable its adoption in other parts of the country.