By Mamilu Isah and Sagir A. Abubakar
As part of its effort in contribution to find solution to the problem of cattle rustling across most of the northern state, the Center for Information technology and Development (CITAD) has established Cattle Rustling Information System (CATRIS) which is to provide documentation as well as real time alert system to relevant officials and agencies on report of cattle theft so that immediate steps could be taken to rescue them and apprehend the rustlers. On Tuesday 26th April, 2016 the center organized a gathering for the unveiling of the portal. The event gathered different Fulani organizations, media and civil society organizations took place at NISTF Hall and aimed to inform the participants about the take-up of the portal.
Kamilu Isa Ahmed who the welcome remarks, he welcomed the participants and said CITAD was implementing a project that aimed at using technology to fight cattle rustling in the northern Nigeria. He explained that the platform was a geospatial, meaning once reports come in it gives you the coordinates of the place where the incident happened as well as the terrain. This would allow security agents to have an idea of the type of vehicles to use as well as understanding of the various road networks and foot paths. As an information platofm, its usefulness lines in the way the people that are supposed to act engage it. The platform is to provide information to security agencies, we will also provide the same information to local volunteers who can then activate local contingencies within their communities to try to recover and rescue the cattle that are stolen.
- Z. Ya’u, the Executive Director of the CITAD briefed the participants about the Cattle Rustling project that the center was implementing and the objectives of the portal. He mentioned that the cattle rustling project was an off-shoot of the peace project CITAD was carrying out in northern Nigeria with the support of Mac Arthur Foundation. He added that the objective was to mobilize all stakeholders to work collectively to promote peace building. He said that in the cause of the project, CITAD realized cattle rustling had become a major problem in northern Nigeria, particularly in the North West and North Central zones of Nigeria. CITAD realized that except for few newspaper publications which are not in-depth, there has not been much attention to this problem in the media. Within government circles, there had not been much efforts at developing strategies to deal with the problem. We realized that it was a big problem which if not carefully addressed, will end up being much bigger than Boko Haram, in terms of its area of operation.
He then said that, CITAD has established cattle rustling information portal and the objective of the portal was to provide documentation as well as real time alert system to the relevant officials and agencies. The system he said deploys an Ushahid based platform that provides a geo-referenced recording of the incidences and has alerts to people who need such reports. It also provides opportunity for using either text, phone, email or social media for people whose cattle were being stolen to immediately report to the platform such that such information will be escalated to the relevant authorities and broadcast to CITAD’s own network of volunteers against cattle rustling for necessary action.
The second session was the practical demonstration of the portal and was facilitated by Shazali Sunusi Suleiman from CITAD. He demonstrated how to send report either via text SMS and social media.
ASP Abubakar Amiru who represented the Kano State Commissioner of Police at the event told the participants that their men are doing their best to tackle the menace in and around the country. He said in each division there are personnel assigned to receive information on the cattle rustling. He gave the following phone lines as police hotlines on the issue of cattle rustling. The phone numbers are 08076091271, 08099999110, 08032419754 and 09053872286
At the end of the program, room for comments, questions and observation were given to the participants. Following comments were made:
- Rabiu Shamma urged that the operation of the portal should be made easy so that the ordinary person will be able to upload reports.
- Harira A. Wakili asked about the availability of GSM network especially in the forest where such incidences occur
- Malam Usman Usman requested CITAD to widen its awareness campaign programs to reach the Fulani nomad as most of them are not aware about CITAD and its activities
- Sunusi Ahmad Baffa commented that the Fulani have now started constituting team of volunteers in their ranches to provide security to their properties. But the major problem now is that the thieves use to slaughter the cattle immediately they have stole them and sell the meet so that even if you encounter them you will not be able to identify your cattle.
- Alhaji Zubairu Ibrahim, secretary of Miyyatti Allah organization urged the media to be broadcasting such issues in the night when they Fulani are at home.
Lastly vote of thank was given by Sagiru Ado, the Entrepreneurship Officer of CITAD who thanked all the participants for honoring the invitation given to them and wished them safe journey.