Blackout in Zamfara, Gov. Bello Matawalle helpless, bandits…

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GSM operators in Zamfara State have shut down their base stations in line with the Nigerian Communications Commission’s mandate that all telecom sites in the state be shut down due to the “pervasive security scenario” in the state.

To one of our reporters, a source from the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria confirmed that all telecoms had followed the directive.

On Saturday afternoon, it was learned that Governor Bello Matawalle, who appears powerless as the situation worsens, had purportedly instructed the Nigeria Communications Commission – NCC to instruct telecom providers to shut down base stations across the state.

Meanwhile, reports stated that a leaked memo signed by the NCC’s Executive Vice-Chairman, Prof Umar Danbatta, and issued to one of the telecom operators on Friday indicated that due to insecurity in the state, the immediate stoppage of all telecommunications services had become necessary.

The NCC boss stated in a letter titled “Re: Shutdown of all telecom sites in Zamfara State” that the shutdown, which would last from September 3 to September 17 in the first instance, was to allow relevant security agencies to carry out required activities in order to address the state’s security challenge.

“In accordance with the requirement, you are hereby required to shut down all sites in Zamfara State, as well as any site(s) in neighboring states that could supply telecoms service in Zamfara State,” the document said in part.

In the first instance, the facility will be closed for two weeks (September 3–17, 2021). This situation necessitates immediate action on your part.”

Meanwhile, an ALTON insider told one of our correspondents that the operators had no choice but to follow the NCC’s mandate, which is the telecommunications industry’s regulating authority.
“The letter was sent by the NCC, and it is for all of the operators,” the insider said.

What do you anticipate telcos to do when the government issues directions or when the regulator issues a directive?

“When we consider the implications for residents, we must ask why the telecom infrastructure was shut down in the first place. Citizens should be asking themselves this question.

It’s for their own good. I can’t comment on how the shut-down order works because they’re listening to us as we speak.”

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