Worry for Northwest Nigeria as NCC Shuts Network in Zamfara
By Adedapo Adesanya
Telecommunications stakeholders were met with shock as the Federal Government of Nigeria has directed all telecommunications providers to shut down services in Zamfara State.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a letter dated September 3, 2021, said that the directive became imperative following the rising insecurity in the state.
The letter on telecommunications services shut down titled Re: Shutdown of All Telecom Sites in Zamfara State and was signed by Mr Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NCC, was addressed to the Chief Executive Officers of the telecoms companies.
This is raising worries as to what is to come as the federal government had earlier declared Zamfara a ‘no-fly zone’, barring airlines from flying in and out of the state.
The decision, NCC said, 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,” 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 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.
Zamfara, a state in northwest Nigeria, shares boundaries with Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, and Katsina State, where President Muhammadu Buhari hails from.
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.