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Zamfara Cut Off From Telecoms Services for Security Reasons


……..As 240 Base Stations Are Shut
Nigeria’ s communications sector regulator- Nigerrian Communications Commission- on Friday directed telecoms operators to shut off their services in the North Western State of Zamfara as part of measures to tackle the growing incidences of banditry, kidnapping and the general state of fear within the state.

According to the Commission, the shutdown order is to remain in force for two weeks in the first instance, after which it will be reviewed whether to continue or relax the procedure across the state.

In a letter addressed to Chief Executives of telecoms operators titled: Re: Shutdown of All Telecom Sites in Zamfara, the Commission noted that the directive was due to prevailing security challenges in the state.

The letter was signed by the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta.

“The pervading security situation in Zamfara State has necessitated an immediate shut down of all telecom services in the state from today, September 3, 2021,” the letter read in part.

In line with this requirement, NCC directed the operators “to shut down all sites in Zamfara State and any site(s) in neighbouring states 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,”

While the directive was specific about Zamfara State, the reference to any other facilities in any site(s) in neighbouring states that could provide telecommunications service in Zamfara State, means that other states sharing boundaries with the state would be affected by the shutdown.

Zamfara shares boundaries with Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, and Katsina States. To achieve a total shutdown of service, the operators would also have to shut some of their sites in the neighbouring states as directed by the regulator.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government had six months earlier on March 3, 2021 declared Zamfara a no-go fly zone in order to frustrate the activities of the criminals but it is yet to be seen how effective it has been in curbing the menace.
As of Saturday, there are indications that over 240 base stations have been shut down in the state in compliance with the NCC directive.
This will definitely translate to a hard time for law abiding citizens as well as businesses whose operations will be significantly slowed down if not entirely disrupted by the phone blackout. However this is seen by most watchers as a necessary sacrifice to rid the state of criminals and their nefarious activities.

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