A resident of Zamfara state who spoke on condition of anonymity has lambasted the state government over the current state of insecurity which resulted in the suspension of telecoms services by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The resident, who spoke with SaharaReporters, said the state government spent over N3 billion on the installation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in 2020 in some parts of the state to fight insecurity but had failed to tackle banditry with it.
He lamented that the drastic measure taken by the government recently has affected lots of persons who work remotely with the aid of internet connection.
The aggrieved young man said if the state government had been utilising the CCTV cameras installed, the situation would not have gone so sour to warrant a total disconnection ‘from the outside world’.
In 2020, the state government installed CCTV cameras in some parts of the state, a project that cost billions of naira.
Tweeting about it on July 1, 2020, Senior Special Assistant on New Media to Zamfara State Governor, Abdulwali Anwar Tahir, said, “His Excellency Dr. @Bellomatawalle1 MoN has brought Gusau the Zamfara State capital a step further to modernization by procuring & installing CCTV cameras in strategic positions. This he did in order to increase & upgrade the security & surveillance within the metropolis.
“This will help the security agencies to monitor different situations or happenings in & around the State capital. Hopefully, other Local Government Headquarters will have theirs.”
This will help the security agencies to monitor different situations or happenings in & around the State capital.
Hopefully, other Local Government Headquarters will have theirs. 2/2
— Abdulwali Anwar Tahir (@AbdulwaliTahir) June 30, 2020
But the confused resident told SaharaReporters: “What is the usefulness of the CCTV installed at such a huge amount of money when banditry is still thriving? Zamfara state government spent N3.2 billion on CCTV installation for the sake of security.
“Yet, bandits kill people and kidnap people, burn houses and destroy property the way they want. That is why we are asking: what is the advantage of the CCTV installations when they have not brought any change or any improvement to society?
“Though they claimed they arrested the former governor of the state that time who was contacting bandits but we’ve not really heard anything else from the project. Now, they want to stop telecoms operators from operating, what difference will it make? There are lots of people who work remotely here in Zamfara whose jobs will be affected.”
Meanwhile, SaharaReporters gathered that base stations, as of Sunday, were shut down by GSM operators in Zamfara following the recent directive by the NCC that all telecoms sites in the state should be suspended over rising insecurity.
On Friday, Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission in a letter to all telecoms operators said the action was one of the strategies taken by security operatives in curbing banditry ravaging the state.
In the memo signed by the NCC and directed at the telcos, the suspension of services would last between September 3 through September 17 in the first instance.
The commission had also said the directive was to enable relevant security agencies to carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state.
A copy of the memo sent to Globacom, one of Nigeria’s telecoms companies, partly read, “The pervading security situation in Zamfara State has necessitated an immediate shutting down of all telecommunications service in the state from today September 03, 2021.
“This is to enable relevant security agencies to carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state, in line with the requirement, Globacom is hereby directed to shut down all sites in Zamfara State and any site(s) in a neighbouring state that could provide telecommunications service in Zamfara State.
“The site shutdown is for two weeks (September 03 – 17, 2021) in the first instance. Your urgent action in this regard is required.”
Checks by SaharaReporters on Sunday showed the directive had been followed by telecoms operators as all its sources in the state could not be reached on the phone.