Banditry: Kaduna To Shut Down Telecoms Services In Some LGAs For Military Operations

A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

 

 

The Kaduna State government has informed residents of the state of plans to shut down telecommunication services in some parts of the state due to insecurity. 

The state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai,  who made the announcement during a media chat with some local radio stations in the state, said the planned shutdown of telecommunication services is because of the plan by security agencies to launch a massive attack on bandits taking refuge in some parts of the state.

El-Rufai explained that the shutdown would not cover the entire state. He, however, did not mentions the LGAs that would be affected, saying it would only affect local government areas bordering the troubled Zamfara and Katsina states.

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

“But I want the people of Kaduna State to know that if they give us the go-ahead tomorrow, we will shut down tomorrow.

“There is no doubt that bandits and other criminals rely on telecommunication to communicate with their informants as well as with relatives of kidnapped victims so as to demand ransom.”

The governor said he had already written to the Federal Government on the shutdown which he said had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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

Kaduna, like most states in the North-West zone, has been affected by banditry and kidnapping, especially in  Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Chikun, Igabi, Kajuru, Kachia, and Zaria local government areas.

According to Governor El-Rufai, due to the shutdown of telecommunication services in Zamfara and Katsina states, some bandits crossed over to neighbouring local government areas in Kaduna to make phone calls and demand ransoms.

He also disclosed that Kaduna State Government has established a task force that will go round the hinterlands to monitor compliance with some of the security measures adopted by the state to tackle banditry and kidnappings. These measures include the closure of some fuel stations and markets to strangulate bandits in the forest.

While advising residents on the need to identify and report informants or accomplices of bandits, El-Rufai urged residents to report anyone who comes to buy between 20 to 100 loaves of bread to security agents.

Reps Probe Alleged N143bn Tax Infractions In Telecoms Sector

An ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives has commenced an investigation into allegations that some telecoms companies, vendors and communication service providers in the country are owing N143.4 billion in taxes.

The Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Rep Ahmed Abu, disclosed this at the investigative hearing which is to assess the tax compliance status and remittance of statutory contributions to relevant government agencies by telecommunication service providers.

“So far, we have 24 companies and we have a total of N143.434billion,” he said, while also disclosing that auditors were still looking at the books of others including vendors and lottery operators operating under the platform of telcos.

The committee plans to meet with the companies, so that they can defend themselves and reconcile these figures with the committee.

Chairman of the Committee, Ahmed Abu, said, “When you say tax evasion, it is criminal in nature (but) tax avoidance is legal. So, what we are trying to do here is simple; to strengthen our laws.

“There is nothing wrong if you try to avoid tax, it means there are loopholes in our laws. And what we do is to strengthen these laws and make them better for the benefit of the industry and the benefit of the country,” he said.

The lawmaker who said the total figure was interim and needed to be reconciled, called on other companies to come forward to enable the committee get a more accurate picture.

“Between today and tomorrow, we hope that some of you (company representatives) that have not come forward to provide further documents to reconcile these figures, I am pleading with you to come forward, bring documents at your disposal which we don’t have and reconcile these figures so that we can move forward,” he said.