By John Ikani
Telecommunication services have been shut down in Katsina State, a development that may not be unconnected with the ongoing security operations against bandits in northwest Nigeria.
According to a report by local media Daily Trust, at least 13 local government areas are affected by the development. They are Sabuwa, Faskari, Dandume, Batsari, Danmusa, Kankara, Jibia, Safana, Dutsin-Ma and Kurfi that are on the fringes of the Ruggu forest where most of the bandits are hiding.
The other three include Funtua, Bakori and Malumfashi.
Katsina, despite being the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, has witnessed sporadic attacks by bandits and kidnappers that have claimed the lives of many.
Over 700 people have been reportedly killed by the gunmen in Jibia, Kankara, Dutsinma, Musawa, Danmusa and Safana LGAs of the state in the last five months.
The shut down of telecom services comes a few days after the National Communications Commission (NCC) denied a plan to shut down telecom sites in Katsina.
In a statement, the Director-General (media), Abdu Labaran Malumfashi, had said the Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of NCC, Prof. Umar Dambatta, had spoken to the state government on the matter where he said the story was false.
The NCC VC/CEO added that the purported letter trending in the social media was a cloned version of the one sent to Zamfara state, where there is a total shutdown of telecom sites.
NCC had issued a directive to telecom operators to shut down their services in the neighboring Zamfara State from September 3, to enable security agencies to carry out required operations in relation to the pervasive security challenges.