– The Sun News

Katsina govt, MTN fight cattle rustling with animal identification technology

By Gloria Ikegbule

There was excitement recently in Katsina State when MTN Nigeria and Katsina State government partnered to fight cattle rustling using advanced technology.

The duo officially launched the Animal Identification Management Solution (AIMS) at the Runka Game Reserve, which many believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

Daily Sun gathered that the launch followed extensive consultation and live demonstrations conducted with leaders and members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) in the key northern states of Kano, Katsina and Kaduna.

Speaking at the launch, the Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, said: “The Katsina State government ventured into this project taking into account the call by the federal government for the diversification of the economy to the agricultural sector. Katsina State is privileged to partner with MTN Nigeria, in the wake of security challenges occasioned by cattle rustling and other worrisome vices, to launch this eye-opening innovation.

“I want to inform this gathering that our effort to accommodate this proposal being supported by MTN is consistent with the World Organisation for Annual Health. We are all living witness to the unfortunate emergence of the phenomenon of cattle rustling and its implications. I, therefore, call on my colleagues, the executive governors of states in the North-West and North-East, to take a cue from our initiative so that, together, we will prevent the movement of cattle rustling in our respective states.”

The AIMS utilises micro-chips, about the size of a grain of rice, embedded in each animal. The chips use passive radio frequency identification technology, allowing law enforcement agents, veterinarians, owners, sellers, transporters and other parties to easily determine the ownership and origin of animals using hand-held scanners and a short code.

This has many uses, including point-of-sale validation of animal ownership and the identification of owners in case of loss or theft of pets and livestock, which would discourage cattle rustling. In addition, it would facilitate disease surveillance and control, as well as livestock identification, which is required for international beef export.

MTN’s corporate relations executive, Tobechukwu Okigbo, expressed delight at the successful collaboration, saying: “This partnership further demonstrates MTN’s long-term commitment to working with government in identifying and deploying innovative solutions designed to tackle broader societal challenges and improve the way our customers work, play and live.”

With its extensive investment in infrastructure and a focus on innovation, the telecom company has continued to deploy new and flexible services, and transformational solutions, tailor-made to address peculiar business needs.

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