The House of Representatives has directed the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to extend the shutdown of telecommunications to some local governments in Sokoto State.
The local governments are Bodinga, Dange Shuni and Tureta. These local governments are bordering Zamfara State.
The lawmakers directed that the local governments in Sokoto that are bordering Zamfara State should be denied access to telecoms as part of stringent measures against insecurity.
The directive followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by Shehu Kakale (APC, Sokoto) on Thursday.
NCC had ordered network operators to suspend telecommunications networks in Zamfara State to disrupt communication by bandits.
The policy has been condemned by some, including the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) which, last week, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the policy.
SERAP had in an open letter described the policy as “inconsistent with the principles of necessity and proportionality.”
However, the policy, it is believed, largely accounts for the recent successes recorded by the military against the insurgents in the northeast and North-west.
Last week, the Governor of Zamfara, Bello Matawalle, said the government will not be negotiating with armed men. This is a radical departure from his earlier decision to dialogue with the dreaded groups.
Mr Kakale said there has been renewed attack against the three local governments, noting that there were coordinated attacks in Galma, Dutse, Buolere and Hausare villages in Wababe district between the first and third of September.
He stated that other coordinated attacks have happened in some villages within those local governments.
Mr Kakale added that the bandits have new “tactics of sending” horror’ “advance” threat letters to communities announcing their Imminent brutal attacks with impunity.”
He said the new tactic is causing panic, adding that the people are “alarmed by the amassing numbers of bandits and terrorists In their hundreds flooding the forests of the aforementioned local governments from Zamfara State. More than 100 households with over 500 people and families are currently displaced from Tureta and Dange-Shuni local governments Into towns and urban areas of the local government with growing and worsening exodus of women, children and the vulnerable into the state capital of Sokoto city resulting in acute additional humanitarian crises in the state.”
Consequently, the House resolved as follow: “Urge the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately come to the aid of the displaced victims and their bereaved families with food and non-food items especially in this raining season where the risk of spreading Cholera epidemic and COVID 19 could be worsened with the waves of IDPs created by these crises.
“Also urge the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCRMI) to also support the victims in their relocation, resettlement and sustainable durable solutions for them to return to their homes, livelihoods and communities as part of the non-kinetic humanitarian interventions of the federal government in solving the insecurity challenges of this nation.
“Urge the National Communication Commission (NCC) to also impose Telecom shut down in these adjourning local government to Zamfara state.
“Urge the Military and other security agencies to re-enforce the Forward Operation Bases in Dange-Shuni and Tureta local governments with more personnel and equipment to neutralize the bandits and criminals and secure the region.”
The motion was taken without debate by the House.