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Nigerian Government Orders Telcos To Shut Down Mobile Phone Services In Zamfara As Bandits Take Over State

The Nigerian government has ordered all telecom operators to shut down their networks in Zamfara State.
Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission in a letter to all telecom operators on Friday said the action was one of the strategies taken by security operatives in curbing banditry ravaging 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.
However, checks by SaharaReporters showed that all the major networks were still working as at 11pm on Friday, except Airtel that was off in some areas.
There is suspicion among the residents that they may shut down anytime soon.
The Zamfara State Government had last Friday also announced some new measures aimed at tackling the growing activities of bandits in the state.
These included the restriction of fuel sales to the state capital and the headquarters of the local government areas and suspension of all weekly markets across the state.
Similarly, the government suspended the transportation of livestock to and from the state, saying the transportation of food across the state and outside Zamfara must be verified.
It stressed that the destination of the food must be authenticated otherwise, it would be seized and taken to the orphanage.
The new rules further include the banning of riding on motorcycles and tricycles from 6pm to 6am in the state, except the state capital which starts from 8pm to 6am every day.
“Furthermore, any tricycle that is covered will be stopped to verify its passengers, otherwise will be apprehended,” the statement read.
“Governor Matawalle reiterated the ban on more than two persons riding a motorcycle and warned that those who break the law stand the risk of being shot at by security operatives.”
The government urged the people of the state to comply with the measures to avoid unfortunate incidents, saying security operatives would be empowered to treat offenders as suspected bandits.

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