The Kaduna State Government has lifted a three-month telecommunication shut down put in place to check attacks by bandits along the Kaduna-Abuja road.
This announcement was made by the state government through the Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who said the relevant government agency in charge of telecommunication has been directed to lift the ban.
“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,”Samuel Aruwan
In September, Kaduna state government order the National Telecommunication Commission (NCC) to shut down telecom service in an attempt to curb the incessant cases of kidnapping and banditry in the state.
However, an upsurge was reported in banditry and kidnapping cases, especially along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, during the ban. According to the commissioner, the ban was not sustainable due to its impact on the activities of businesses and citizens.
The commissioner also thanked the citizens of the state for their sacrifice.
“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.”
Impact of Kaduna telecom shutdown
Three months after the shutting down of telecom services, there doesn’t seem to be a positive change in the state of insecurity in the state. If recent reports are anything to go by, the situation may have grown worse.
Over the last few days, the Abuja-Kaduna express road has been a preying ground for bandits who have had a field day abducting travellers for consecutive days. This has led the presidency to call for increased surveillance of the road. But surveillance would be greatly hampered by the absence of telecom networks.
The president’s call has perhaps played a major role in the decision to rescind the shut down.
But while the telecom shutdown has failed to curb the incessant attack of bandits, it has also led to a sharp decline in economic activities. Residents of the state have continued to bemoan the negative effects of the telecom shutdown especially as it hasn’t led to an improvement in the security situation.
Telecom shutdowns in northern Nigeria
The Northern part of Nigeria has continued to battle an ever-increasing state of insecurity. They range from attacks by the terrorist group, Boko Haram and ISWAP to attacks by bandits and cattle rustlers. The government has often used telecoms shutdown as a means of dealing with the situation.
Kaduna was the sixth Nigerian state to order a shutdown of telecommunications services. Telecommunications bans have however proven detrimental to businesses and individuals alike.
In addition to the telecommunications shutdown, curfews are also announced alongside. In 2013, the Federal Government shut down telecommunications services in three states in the northeast; Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
Currently, the northwestern states of Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara have shut down telecom services to curb the heightening spate of insecurity in the country.
According to a report by SB Morgan Intelligence, only residents of Zamfara admit that the telecoms disruption has brought about any positive change in the security situation. The majority of residents in Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto think the shutdown hasn’t improved anything.
“In a region already struggling with poverty and a high dependency ratio which puts pressure on incomes, the residents of these states are paying a high price for the ongoing military operations,”SBMorgan Intelligence report
“This high economic cost leads us to recommend cessation of the telephone shutdown, in order for residents to resume business and for security officials to take a dispassionate look at the efficacy of operations so far.”
Moving forward in Kaduna
Although telecommunication services have been restored, residents are advised that the restoration of full services in the affected areas may unfold over the next few days, as the service providers mobilise to power and boost their transmission systems accordingly.
Other security measures such as the prohibition of motorcycles and weekly markets still remain.
“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,”
According to the commissioner, the telecoms shutdown had helped the security agencies to achieve some results which the security forces will reel out soon. Hopefully, these measures help to make the state a safe place.
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