September 04, (THEWILL) – The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has directed all telecom providers to shut down services in Zamfara State for two weeks from September 3.
According to a letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officers of the telecoms companies, the decision is “to enable relevant security agencies to carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenges in the state.”
“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,” NCC Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Prof. Umar Danbatta said in the letter.
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 Zamfara would be affected by the shutdown.
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.
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.
Zamfara State Governor, in a letter dated August 3, 2021, had requested the NCC to shut down all telecoms service in the state.
The letter read: “Following the escalation of insecurity in the state, the Zamfara State Security Council resolved that extra measures for public safety and strengthening the battle against banditry in the state should be taken.
“Accordingly, a task force has been set up to ensure that the new measures are enforced. The Council noted that one of the greatest hurdles to combating banditry is the issue of informers, who use mobile networks to communicate with bandits about the movements of troops. The bandits also take advantage of the availability of the networks to coordinate their attacks.”
THEWILL reports the State Governor, Bello Matawalle, had last week announced the closure of all weekly markets in the state as part of measures to address the worsening security situation.