Recently, suspected Fulani herdsmen have been responsible for attacking villages, killing scores of people in the south west and eastern regions of Nigeria. While these acts are widely condemned by the entire nation, some representatives of the herdsmen have highlighted possible explanations for the violence.
The lack of grazing reserves in the country was cited several times as a major reason for the recent clashes between nomads and indigenes. However, this does nothing to pacify citizens who want to know why the herdsmen carry arms in the first place. According to the secretary of their association, the herdsmen are armed to protect both themselves and their cattle from rustlers and although, this explanation does little to justify their actions, it has helped many understand some of the problems these nomads face.
Cattle rustling is one of the major problems faced by herdsmen. Thousands of cows are reportedly stolen from their owners often and nothing is done about it. The cattle owners complain that law enforcement agencies do very little to ensure the safety of their livestock. Without any foreseeable solutions from the government, MTN has just launched a Livestock Tracking Device in order to help herdsmen insure their cattle without the use of arms.
The Livestock Tracking Device (LTD) by MTN uses solar powered GPS technology to keep livestock in check. According to the Corporate Services Executive, Ms. Amina Oyagbola, the LTD “can track the location of cattle [and] send panic or emergency alerts to the authorities in times of trouble.” In line with the Federal Government’s plan to map out grazing areas, the LTD also functions as a ‘geo-fence’ for grazing areas.
With the help of this device, grazing areas will be clearly marked differently from farmlands. This dual function device was launched at the 2016 Katsina State Economic and Investment Summit. At the conference, which had stakeholders from the public and private sectors in attendance, the use of technology as a solution to Nigeria’s challenges was extensively discussed. Perhaps with a device like this within the reach of the herdsmen, there might be an end to the bloody clashes.