Apprehension as Sokoto Shuts Down Telco Services
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Sokoto State Government has shut down telecommunications networks in 14 of the 23 local government areas of the state as part of the efforts to check banditry, making it the third Northwest States to do so within the last one month.
The telecommunication blackout was announced by Governor Aminu Tambuwal on Monday, September 20 in an interview with the Voice of America Hausa Service.
Mr Tambuwal said the state secured approval from the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, before enforcing the ban which kicked off on Monday.
He said the affected council areas are the most vulnerable to bandit attacks in the state and it has caused apprehension among residents of the councils.
The development in Sokoto followed that of the neighbouring Zamfara, where all parts of the state are affected; and Katsina State where 13 local government areas are affected.
Zamfara had announced its communication shut down on September 3 while Katsina followed six days after on September 9.
The governments of the two North-west states announced the suspension of telecommunications networks and banned weekly markets and sale of petrol in jerry cans, among other drastic measures to check the activities of bandits.
Mr Tambuwal said following the ban in Zamfara, bandits have intensified attacks in Sokoto. He said the measure has proved successful in Zamfara, as a result of which the bandits were fleeing from the state to Sokoto.
“Due to the ongoing military successes in Zamfara State, the bandits are fleeing to Sokoto,” the governor said.
Mr Tambuwal also explained the network ban is effective in Dange Shuni, Tambuwal, Sabon Birni, Raba, Tureta, Goronyo, Tangaza and Isa local government areas amongst others.
Isa local government area shares boundaries with Shinkafi LGA in Zamfara State, while Goronyo and Sabon Birni from west and north respectively have borders with the Republic of Niger in the east.
Mr Tambuwal said the measure was long overdue. He said the seven governors of the region had agreed on the network ban to flush out the bandits but this could not be done.