After a month of ordering the shutting down of telecommunication services in parts of Kaduna State, the government says it has contacted federal agencies that the services be restored.
The government action is coming amid public outcry that the shutting down of Global Satellite for Mobile (GSM) services was not having considerable deterrent effect on the activities of bandits and other criminals.
For instance, this week was especially bad for travellers on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway as bandits allegedly had a field day, abducting and killing. It started with last Sunday’s afternoon killing of a former Director of Protocol in the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Sagir Hamidu. Late Hamidu aspired to be Governor of Zamfara State.
In one of the trending videos of an attack on the road on Tuesday, scared and exasperated passengers were heard lamenting the lack of telecom services to reach security forces.
State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, however told journalists on Friday at a press conference that others measures to curtail the activities of bandits and terrorists remain in place.
His words: “I am here to inform you that the Kaduna State Government has contacted the relevant federal agencies to effect the immediate restoration of telecommunication services which were suspended in some local government areas.
“Security agencies had requested the shutdown in October 2021, among other measures, to assist ongoing operations against armed bandits and other criminals. The security agencies have now notified the government that telecoms services can be restored.
“Along with the other measures in the security containment order, the telecoms shutdown had helped the security agencies to achieve some results, which the security forces will reel out soon. The prolonged application of this measure was always out of the question, due to its impact on the legitimate activities of citizens and businesses.
“Residents are advised that the restoration of full services in the affected areas may unfold over a few days, as the service providers mobilise to power and boost their transmission systems accordingly.
“The Kaduna State Government regrets the inconveniences residents of the affected LGAs may have encountered as a result of the shutdown. The state government wishes to commend the sacrifices made by residents while this temporary measure lasted.
“Notwithstanding, the government wishes to reiterate that the other measures announced as part of the security containment orders remain in force. These include the prohibition of motorcycles all over the state, the ban on weekly markets, transportation of cattle, and the prohibition of sale of fuel in jerrycans in specified local government areas.”
Giving an insight into what may have informed the state government’s decision, an observer, Mr. Abraham Abu, said “They must have realised the futility of the network blackout, (because) kidnapping still goes out as usual. The only thing that has changed is that the information doesn’t always get as viral as it used to do.”
“My friend’s uncle was picked with over 60 others at a Sunday service around Buwaya. The kidnappers simply released one of the captives to go and make arrangements for “logistics” such as foodstuffs, motorcysles, etc
“They threatened to kill his own relative that is still with them if he failed to come back. Money was out together, the items were bought, but, unfortunately, no one agreed to deliver them
“Also, for four consecutive days, starting from last Sunday, the terrorists held sway on that road.”