Masari wants shutdown of telecoms networks in Katsina to fight bandits

Masari says a blackout will cut off a vital information pipeline for bandits.

Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari

Katsina governor, Aminu Bello Masari, says he's open to the shutdown of telecommunication services in some parts of the state to fight banditry.

The state is one of the worst affected by the activities of bandits that have killed thousands and abducted many more, especially across the northern region.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently ordered telecoms operators to suspend their networks in Zamfara for two weeks, as part of operations to crack down on bandits.

Masari said in a televised interview on Monday, September 6, 2021 that Katsina could adopt the same approach to fight insecurity.

The governor lamented that criminals are fond of acquiring arms and building camps in forest areas to wreak havoc on surrounding communities.

He said military efforts against the criminals are majorly hindered by informants who supply them with valuable intel, a pipeline he said can be crushed with a communications blackout.

The governor proposed that this sort of blackout should be implemented in 13 local government areas in the state that are bordering the forest areas where the bandits operate.

"When you take off the networks, the informants can no longer inform. The Armed Forces have a way of communicating," he said.

The governor also stood by his earlier stance that residents should defend themselves and stop making attacks easy for bandits, a comment that previously attracted widespread criticism.

When quizzed further, Masari said he doesn't mind if residents obtain firearms to defend themselves against invaders, despite the nation's strict laws against civilian acquisition of firearms.

He said, "If you come with a stick, I will come with a stick. I will pay you in your own coin. What are we talking about?"

Nearly 2,000 civilians were killed across the country between April and June 2021 in violent incidents including terror attacks, abductions, and gang clashes.

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