Mobile Data Blackout Imposed in Nigeria as Part of Kidnapping Crackdown

Nigerian residents said that the authorities imposed a mobile network operations shutdown in Zamfara so that kidnappers in the area will be apprehended.

Reuters reported that two Zamfara residents, who traveled to Sokoto state just to make phone calls said that mobile networks were shut down during the weekend, making it impossible for people to contact the authorities.

A social media post circulated showing a letter from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to Globacom, which said that the blackout was “to enable relevant security agencies (to) carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state.” 

The NCC letter ordered Globacom to halt its phone and internet services from September 3 to 17, 2021, and that urgent action regarding the matter is required. Globacom did not immediately comment on the letter.

Britain’s Foreign Office posted a new travel advisory on its website that the blackout will go on for an initial two weeks, and that Zamfara and neighboring states may be affected. 

Last week, 70 students were abducted from a secondary school in Zamfara state. A rescue operation is currently underway to free the students. 

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