Sokoto shuts down telecoms networks to fight bandits

The ban went into effect on Monday following the approval of the Federal Government.

Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal

The Sokoto State government has shut down telecommunications networks in 14 local government areas in its bid to fight banditry.

Governor Aminu Tambuwal announced on Monday, September 20, 2021 that the shutdown was effected in areas worst affected by the activities of bandits.

The ban went into effect following the approval of the Federal Government.

The LGAs affected are Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Ilela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah, Tambuwal, Tangaza, Tureta, Wurno, and Dange Shuni.

In 13 of the LGAs, the Sokoto Government had also previously closed some roads to motorists, suspended animal trades, prohibited transportation of cattle, and transportation of more than three people on motorcycles, and tricycles to limit the activities of bandits.

Zamfara and Katsina have similarly shut down telecommunications over the past few weeks to intensify military offensives on bandits.

Tambuwal said on Monday the strategy is working and his state must do the same because some of the affected bandits are fleeing to Sokoto State.

Bandits have terrorised many parts of the northern region, especially the north west over the past couple of years, killing thousands and abducting more for ransom.

The success of shutting telecommunications services to fight the bandits is currently disputed by critics, and is not widely accepted yet.

Speaking weeks ago about the shutdown in Zamfara, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said it was based on a request from security agencies.

He declined to elaborate on the specifics of why the request was made, claiming security reasons, but urged the public to support it as a strategy to stem the wave of bloodshed in the country.

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