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FG shuts down telecom sites in Zamfara over insecurity

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THE Federal Government through the Nigerian Communications Commission has asked major telecommunications firms to shut down all communication sites in Zamfara State.

This comes exactly six months after the Federal Government declared the state a ‘no fly zone’.

A leaked memo dated September 3 and signed by the Executive Vice-Chairman of the 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.

In the letter titled, ‘Re: Shutdown of All telecoms Sites in Zamfara States’, it was stated that the shutdown would last from September 3 to September 17.

It read in part, “The pervading security situation in Zamfara has necessitated an immediate shutdown of all telecommunications services in the state from today, September 3, 2021. This is to enable relevant security agencies to carry out the required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state.

“In line with this requirement, Globalcom is hereby directed to shut down all sites in Zamfara State and any states in neighbouring states that could provide telecommunications services in Zamfara State. The site shut down is for two weeks from September 3 to September 17, 2021 in the first instance. Your urgent action in this regard is required.”

Zamfara is arguably the worst hit by banditry with over 70 students of Government Day Secondary School Kaya in Maradun Local Government Area the most recent victims.

Recall that in 2013, the Federal Government blocked GSM networks in Borno State for several months in a bid to curb the activities of Boko Haram.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 3, 2021 declared the state a no fly zone due to the crisis which is believed to be fuelled by illegal gold mining.

It was, however, learnt that despite the no fly order, over 500 persons have been killed in Zamfara while hundreds including schoolchildren have been kidnapped within the same period.

In July, a military airplane was shot down by bandits.

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