By Chinenye Anuforo
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has directed all telecommunications providers to shut down services in Zamfara State from September 3, 2021. The NCC said this became imperative to address rising insecurity in the State.
According to a letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officers of the telecoms companies, a copy of which was sighted by Daily Sun the decision is “to enable relevant security agencies to carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenges in the state.”
The letter titled “Re: Shutdown of All Telecom Sites in Zamfara State” 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 (2) weeks (September 03-17, 2021) in the first instance. Your urgent action in this regard is required,” the letter read.
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.
This decision is coming six months after the Federal Government declared Zamfara State a ‘no-fly zone’ and banned all mining activities in the state.
The state has been a hotbed of criminal attacks ranging from kidnapping and banditry.
Last week, the government shut down schools after the abduction of 73 students from a public school in the state.
The abduction occurred 11 days after students abducted from the College of Agriculture in Bakura, Zamfara, regained freedom.
The state governor Bello Matawalle also suspended the transportation of livestock beyond the state’s borders and ordered the closure of weekly markets across the state, while transportation of food items will be subject to verification.
According to industry experts, a service signal from a cell tower could reach up to 45 miles away, depending on the technology of the cellphone network. Northwestern Zamfara shares boundaries with Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, and President Buhari’s Katsina State. 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.