By Sufyan Lawal Kabo
The second workshop on the training on use of Social Media for reporting cattle rustling was held at Old Central Office behind Emir’s palace, Emir’s Drive, Azare, Bauchi state on 17th of June 2015. The second of the series as well held for Fulbe organizations, field cattle rearers, Hardos (Fulani leaders), community leaders etc. It was attended by representatives from various Fulbe organizations across Bauchi state. These include:
- Members of Fulbe Development Association of Nigeria
- Miyetti Allah
- Fulbe Youth
The workshop started with a background presentation on Using Social Media to Fight Cattle Rustling was taken by CITAD’s Media Officer Malam Sufyan Lawal Kabo. In it, the phenomenon of cattle rustling was presented alongside the Cattle Rustling Information System (CaTRIS).
The objectives of CaTRIS are:
- To provide rearers with training on use ICTs to send or receive alerts on rustling attempts
- To provide cattle rearers with reporting mechanism should their cattle be taken
- Provide an alert system to provide information to volunteers who will help in tracking stolen cattle
- To document cases of cattle rustling so that we can have a robust database for advocacy purposes
- Provide rearers with the training on use of modern tools that will help in tracking stolen cattle etc
The CaTRIS which involves geo-mapping of cattle tracks and grazing reserves on the Ushashidi platform will allow victims to send in information using either text message, whatspps or other forms of social media to the network control centre, which will then broadcast the information using various channels to a network of volunteers who would volunteer to help in locating the rustled cattle. Since the information is geo-referenced, volunteers will have instantaneous idea of where the rustling had taken place and with a geo-mapped of the routes will know the likely routes that the rustles will take in the neighborhood. The system is also going to work with shared codes for people do not know how to write to send in reports using codes and symbols.
The second session was a hands-on training on use of Whataspp for reporting cattle rustling. This was facilitated by CITAD’s Peace Programme Officer, Malam Abdulganiyyu Rufa’i who started his presentation by providing a list of handsets that could download the apps and install, and thereafter assisted some of the participations to install the application on their handsets. Having done that, he introduced them to Moftal Fulbe, a Fulbe socio-cultural WhatsApp group which was earlier created by the coalition of Fulbe groups during the Zamfara workshop on cattle rustling. The participants’ phone numbers were added to the group as its new members.
It was followed by a session on the use of ordinary phones for reporting. For the non –literate Fulanis, illustrative codes were developed and agreed to be used in reporting and tracking incidences of cattle rustling.
Finally, an interactive session was held. In it, the myriads of cattle rustling in Bauchi state and other related issues were discussed. Some of the participants shared their experiences on cattle rustling in their communities. Suggestions by the participants on how Cattle Rustling phenomenon can be tackled include:
- Fulbe organizations to pay advocacy visits to government and other stakeholders to complain the depth of their plights
- More Civil Society Organizations to join in the fight against cattle rustling in the northern region
- Fulbe organizations to create communication strategies among them
- Participants to share the knowledge acquired during the workshop to sensitize their members