The government of Sokoto State has shut down telecommunications networks in 14 of the 23 local government areas of the state as part of the efforts to check banditry. Governor of Sokoto state – Aminu Tambuwal made the announcement of the measure to safeguard the state.
In an interview with Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service, Governor Tambuwal said the state secured approval from the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isah Pantami, before enforcing the ban. He said the affected council areas are the most vulnerable to bandit attacks in the state.
The development in Sokoto followed that of the neighboring Zamfara, where all parts of the state are affected; and Katsina State where 13 local government areas are affected. The governments of the two North-west states announced the suspension of telecommunications networks and banned weekly markets and sale of petrol in jerry cans, among other drastic measures to check and restrict the activities of bandits within the state.
Governor Tambuwal said following the ban in Zamfara, bandits have intensified attacks in Sokoto. He said the measure which has proved successful in Zamfara, resulted in the bandits fleeing from the state to Sokoto. “Due to the ongoing military successes in Zamfara State, the bandits are fleeing to Sokoto,” the governor said. Governor Tambuwal said the network ban is effective in Dange Shuni, Tambuwal, Sabon Birni, Raba, Tureta, Goronyo, Tangaza and Isa local government areas amongst others.
Isa local government area shares boundaries with Shinkafi LGA in Zamfara State, while Goronyo and Sabon Birni from west and north respectively have borders with the Republic of Niger in the east. Governor Tambuwal said the measure was long overdue. He said the seven governors within the northern region had agreed on the network ban to flush out the bandits but this could not be done.
A resident, Suleiman Aliyu, in an interview recently said network service from MTN had stopped in many parts of the city. The headquarters of Dangi Shuni, one of the council areas reported cut off for telecommunication networks, is about 27 kilometers from Sokoto city.