Tension in Zamfara as a result of planned shutdown of telecommunications network


Panic has returned to Zamfara State as a result of the state government’s plan to shut down the state’s telecommunication network.

Following the rising security challenges ravaging the State, the Governor announced on Wednesday through his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Hon. Zailani Bappa, that the government may impose strict security measures.

The Governor made the statement in response to the abduction of 30 youths along the Sokoto-Zamfara road last weekend, claiming that the rising activities of informants to bandits had resurfaced in the state.

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He bemoaned the increasing activities of informants who provide information to bandits against innocent citizens, reiterating the government’s resolve to take more stringent measures to contain the threat, including the shutdown of telecommunications when necessary.

The announcement sparked a lot of tension in the state, as residents recalled previous events that had a significant impact on people’s economic lives.

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Remember that in September 2021, the State government implemented some security measures, including the shutdown of telecommunication network services, to combat the insecurity situation plaguing the state.

According to reports, neighbouring states such as Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto, and Niger were inspired by the security measures.

Despite these security measures, terrorist attacks on unarmed civilians continued unabated, prompting the suspension after about two months.

Dr. Alhaji Muhammad Gusau, an activist, has commented on the matter on his Facebook page, claiming that the state government is considering shutting down telecommunication network services due to security concerns in the state.

“This will have a significant impact on the state’s economy, which is not a good decision.” Ordinary people suffered when the government shut down the networks from September to October, and in some cases, almost December.

“All legitimate endeavours were halted, livelihoods were harmed, but the security measures produced no positive results in terms of the security of lives and property in the State,” he said.

Another public commentator, Alhaji Ahmed Bakare, a proponent of good governance in the state, also made a statement on the subject via his Facebook page:

“No record of improvement was released from Defense Headquarters when the State government first shut down telecommunication network services in 2021, because it used to release timely progress updates.”

“Neither the State government nor the Governor claimed to have had any success, apart from the Governor’s claim that over a hundred informants had been arrested.”

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“Yet no suspect has been arraigned and prosecuted,” the public commentator expressed his disappointment.

“Rather than ignoring communication opportunities, a serious government should use them to locate, isolate, and possibly attack criminal targets.”

“I don’t think the people of Zamfara can afford to go through this again if the state’s telecommunication network services are shut down,” he said.

However, the Governor’s spokesman, Hon. Zailani Bappa, stated that the public misinterpreted the Governor’s statement.

Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle, according to him, said the security agencies would advise him and that, if necessary, he would shut down telecommunication network services.

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