Kaduna shuts down telecoms services over bandits battle

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The noose is tightening around the bandits in the Northwest with the final push to flush them out by the military and the civil authorities.

Bandits on the run from Zamfara and Katsina states where a coordinated military operation and a shut-down of telecommunications facilities are ongoing are now to be squeezed in Kaduna State where telecommunications facilities have now been shut down. The states where telephone calls are barred because of the anti-banditrybattle are now three.

The Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution asking President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits as terrorists. This, according to the lawmakers will pave the way for tough actions against them without legal hindrance.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan called for a united approach to the war against insurgency.

Announcing the new set of measures to fight bandits and abductions in the state, Kaduna State Government through Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said relevant federal agencies had been informed that the telecoms shutdown would commence today.

He said: “You will recall that Governor El-Rufai announced in a media chat yesterday (Tuesday) that the state government has formally requested the Federal Government to enforce the shutdown of telecom services in parts of the state identified by security agencies as requiring such measures.

“The relevant federal agencies have today informed the Kaduna State Government that the processes for telecoms shutdown in parts of the state have commenced.

“As part of the steps to address the current security situation in Kaduna State and neighbouring states in the Northwest and Northcentral, the Kaduna State Government has held several meetings with security agencies to adopt critical measures towards crushing bandits in their identified hideouts.

“The military and other security forces have been carrying out assaults on the identified locations. The state government is advised that certain measures are now necessary to assist the spirited efforts of these security agencies.

“The following measures become effective from Thursday (today), The complete ban on the use of motorcycles (Okada), for commercial or personal purposes, for three months in the first instance. Ban on possession of or wielding of dangerous weapons.

“Tricycles are allowed to operate only from 6 am to 7 pm. All tricycles must remove all curtains. The movement of all tricycles is restricted from dusk till dawn.

“All vehicles used for commercial transport must be painted in yellow and black within 30 days. Vehicles that are part of ride-hailing services are to carry yellow and black stripes.

“Ban on the sale of petrol in jerry-cans or other containers in Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Chikun, Igabi, Kachia, Kagarko and Kajuru LGAs.

“Other containment measures previously communicated by the Kaduna State Government remain in place. These include: Ban on felling of trees and forestry activities in Birnin Gwari, Giwa Igabi, Chikun, Kachia, Kagarko, and Kajuru LGAs, ban on firewood and charcoal transportation and ban on the transportation of livestock into and out of the State.

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“Others are cessation of weekly markets in the frontline local government areas of Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Chikun, Igabi, Kajuru and Kawo weekly market of Kaduna North local government.

“The Kaduna State Government regrets the severe strain and inconvenience these measures will place on peaceful and law-abiding citizens.

“The government, therefore, appeals for the understanding and cooperation of all residents of the affected areas, and indeed across the State. These difficult times have demanded that difficult decisions be made.

“The measures have been adopted purely in the interest of our collective safety and security, and to aid our brave forces in their fight against these mindless criminals.

“Small groups of wicked persons cannot continue to hold us to ransom, and force us to live in perpetual fear.”

Kaduna, the epi-centre  of banditry and kidnapping in the Northwest, is the political headquarters of Northern Nigeria. It hosts most of the nation’s major security institutions like the  First Division Nigerian Army, Nigerian Army Depot, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Nigerian Defence Industry (NDI); Nigerian Air Force Training School; Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), and the Nigerian Army School of Artillery.

As at 2009, Kaduna State was Nigeria’s 15th largest economy.

Announcing some of  the strategies on Tuesday night Governor El-Rufai said his government found out that   bandits from Zamfara and Katsina states  ”come  to Kaduna State to make  telephone calls and demand ransom.”

The governor explained that the military advised that telecommunications services in some councils be shut down.

He added that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the measure.

He said: “We have been advised by the military and other security agencies to shut down telecommunication services in local governments we are waiting for the security agencies to tell us which specific areas and when.

“I will not mention the local governments to be affected but the local governments that are constantly being tormented by bandits know themselves.”

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