Banditry: Kaduna may shutdown telecoms network

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Following the consistent attacks, kidnaps and killings of citizens by bandits, Kaduna State Government has asked residents to prepare for a shutdown of telecommunication services, which it said may start Wednesday.

The shutdown however would cover only councils bordering the troubled Zamfara and Katsina States where military onslaught is ongoing.

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai said the security operatives are prepared to launch an offensive on bandits hibernating in some parts of the State.

The Governor said he had already written to the Federal Government on the shutdown which he said had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a chat with some radio stations on Tuesday evening, the Governor said the shutdown will take effect from Wednesday if a go ahead is given.

According to him: “We have been advised by the military and other security agencies to shut down telecommunication services in certain LGAs but we are waiting for the security agencies to tell us which specific areas and when.

“But I want the people of Kaduna State to know that if they give us the go-ahead tomorrow [Wednesday], we will shut down tomorrow (Wednesday).”

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The Governor revealed due to the shutdown of telecommunication services in Zamfara and Katsina, some bandits crossed over to neighbouring local government areas in Kaduna to make phone calls and demand ransoms.

“There is no doubt that bandits and other criminals rely on telecommunication to communicate with their informants as well as with relatives of kidnapped victims so as to demand ransom.

“I will not mention the LGAs to be affected but the local governments that are constantly being tormented by bandits know themselves,” he said adding “as soon as we get the nod from security agents, then the people of Kaduna State should know that we will shut down telecommunication to give security agents the maximum cooperation to carry out operations in those areas.”

El-Rufai also said the state government had established a task force that will go round the hinterlands to monitor compliance on some of the security measures adopted by the state to ensure that fuel stations and markets are closed to further strangulate bandits in the forest.

While advising residents on the need to identify and report informants or accomplices of bandits, the Governor said: “Anyone who comes to buy between 20 to 100 loaves of bread, sell it to him but also notify security agents.

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“Or when someone comes with about 20 phones and wants to charge them, let them charge them, but also notify security agents,” he said.

The Nation observed that communities within Kaduna metropolis and outskirts that fall in Chikun and Igabi had started experiencing network shutdown since Tuesday evening.

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