Confusion over NCC order shutting telecoms services in Zamfara

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A leaked letter allegedly from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) directing all telecommunications providers to shut down services in State from September 3 is generating anxiety and confusion within the industry.

The confusion stemmed from the refusal the NCC to confirm the authenticity of the letter.

The letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officers telecoms companies, a copy of which was sighted by our correspondent, said the decision to shut down the facilities was taken “to enable relevant security agencies to carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenges in the state.”

However, efforts made to confirm the authenticity the letter from the Director of Public Affairs of the NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, were futile as he failed to respond to inquiries up till the time of filing this report.

Other sources within the NCC top echelon also refused to comment on the matter.

The letter titled “Re: Shutdown All Telecom Sites in State” was signed by the Executive Vice Chairman the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta.

“The pervading security situation in State has necessitated an immediate shut down of all telecom services in the state from today, September 3, 2021,” the letter reads.

Specifically, the letter sighted by our correspondent, which was addressed to the Chief Executive of Globacom networks, directed the operators “to shut down all sites in State and any site(s) in neighbouring states that could provide telecommunications service in the state.

“The site shutdown is for two weeks (September 03-17, 2021) in the first instance. Your urgent action in this regard is required.”

While the directive was specific about State, it made reference to any other facilities in any site(s) in neighbouring states that could provide telecommunications service in Zamfara; a development that has generated anxiety in states bordering Zamfara, such as Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna, whose inhabitants fear that they could be affected by the directive.

There are fears that for the directive to achieve the desired impact, the operators would have to shut down some of their sites in the neighbouring states as directed by the regulatory body.