By John Ikani
The Federal Government of Nigeria has ordered all telecom operators to shut down their networks in Zamfara State in an attempt to curb bandit activities ravaging the state.
A leaked memo signed by the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof. Umar Danbatta, which was addressed to one of the telecoms operators, stated that the shutdown of the telecoms sites had become necessary due to the insecurity in the state.
“The pervading security situation in Zamfara State has necessitated an immediate shutting down of all telecommunications service in the state from today September 03, 2021.
“This is to enable relevant security agencies carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state, in line with the requirement, Globacom is hereby directed to shut down all sites in Zamfara State and any site(s) in neighboring state that could provide telecommunications service in Zamfara State.
“The site shutdown is for two weeks (September 03 – 17, 2021) in the first instance. Your urgent action in this regard is required,” a copy of the letter sent to Globacom Nigeria reads.
A top security source who confirmed the development to newsmen said the shutdown was in line with the usual security strategy.
The source said Zamfara State had become a huge source of worry to the Federal Government and the military was planning a massive offensive in the coming days.
“Zamfara State has been a huge source of worry to the government. And whenever a military offensive is being planned, bandits always get tipped off. So, the strategy is to block phone access for now so that criminals would not be able to communicate with one another,” he added.
What you should know
The shutdown of telecom services in Zamfara State comes months after President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 3, 2021 declared Zamfara a no fly zone due to the crisis which is believed to be fuelled by illegal gold mining.
The declaration failed to curb insecurity in the state, as over 500 persons have been killed while hundreds including schoolchildren have been kidnapped within the same period.