On Wednesday, there was a viral claim circulated via various social media platforms that Zamfara State Government was again planning to shut down telecommunications networks within the state to curb incessant terrorist attacks.
SaharaReporters gathered that the claim was generated from the speech made by the state governor, Bello Matawalle, while assuring relatives of victims of terrorist attacks that his government would take all the necessary measures to curb insecurity in the state.
A tweet made by Yusuf Anka, claimed that “Zamfara state govt is again moulding plans to block access to communications in the state over escalation of bandit attack. Are these people serious? What was the impact of the last black out? Is this really about security?”
SaharaReoorters also found a viral WhatsApp post purporting that Governor Matawalle had disclosed one of the measures he would take to curb banditry, including a possible shutdown of the network again.
Findings by SaharaReporters show that the claim is false and misleading.
SaharaReportors called the media aide to Zamfara State Governor, Zailani Bappa, to verify this claim.
“That claim is not true. Governor Matawalle’s words were misinterpreted. The government does not have any plan to shut down the network again.
“What the governor meant was that his administration would take measures to deal with bandits the same way it was done when the network was shut down.
“It is false news that people should disregard,” Zailani told SaharaReporters.
Zamfara state govt is again moulding plans to block access to communications in the state over escalation of bandit attack. Are these people serious? What was the impact of the last black out? Is this really about security?
— Yusuf Anka (@ankaboy) June 15, 2022
Last September, The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ordered telecom operators to suspend their networks in Zamfara.
The development followed the suspension of weekly markets and other drastic measures in the adjoining troubled North-west and North Central states to check the activities of bandits in the regions.
Following the development, bandits reportedly intensified attacks in Zamfara and Katsina, looting foodstuff to stock up while the measures remained in place.
According to residents, the situation grounded the economy, with prices of food items going far above 100 per cent for the few ones that were available, while some were out of reach.