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El-Rufai asks telcos to return to Kaduna as ban fails to stop bandits, other criminals

Governor Nasir El-Rufai on Friday asked telecom operators to return to Kaduna, three months after imposing signal restrictions in order to check rampaging armed bandits and other violent crime syndicates.

Home affairs commissioner Samuel Aruwan said in a statement Friday afternoon that the state had notified operators to return to business. The ban was imposed in September when security agencies and telecoms regulator NCC said blocking signals across the state could help frustrate bandits’ activities.

Armed bandits have been blamed for hundreds of attacks on civilians, including constant abduction of schoolchildren, this year alone. A federal court recently authorised the Buhari administration to designate some bandits as terrorists.

Months after telecom networks were shut down across Kaduna, banditary failed to cease, prompting critics to express vindication about their earlier concerns that the restrictions will only strengthen coordination amongst bandits while making it difficult for citizens to report attacks from remote communities. The ban also failed to frustrate bandits who have long relied on walkie-talkies to perpetrate their deadly exploits.

Kaduna government, however, said the ban on motorcycles, main markets, and selling of fuel in kegs remains in force.

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