The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has directed telecommunication firms to shut down sites in Zamfara state from September 3 to September 17.
The shut down is necessary due to the insecurity in the state, according to a leaked memo signed by the Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, which was addressed to one of the telecoms operators, Punch reported.
This shut down comes six months after FG declared Zamfara ‘no-fly zone,’ and banned mining activities in the state.
The report said that a top security source confirmed the authenticity of the leaked memo, adding that the military was planning a massive offensive in the coming days. The source was quoted as saying that “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.”
The leaked memo 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.”
Depending on the technology, a service signal can reach up to 45 miles away, according to industry experts. Thus, to achieve a total shut down of service as per the regulator’s directive, some of the telecommunication sites in other neighbouring states would have to be shut down as well. Zamfara state shares boundaries with Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna and Katsina States.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.