Bank customers, PoS operators groan as telcos block 47 LGAs

Telecommunication service subscribers in 47 local government areas in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna states have been affected by the ban on telecom services in the areas by the Federal Government, findings by our correspondent have revealed.

This is as bank customers and Point of Sale operators in the affected areas groan over lack of access to banking services as the ban continues in the four states.

The Federal Government had imposed a ban on telecom services in Zamfara and parts of Sokoto, Katsina and Kaduna states, following the spate of insecurity in the region.

In compliance with the directive of the Nigerian Communications Commission, GSM operators on September 3, 2021 shut down their 248 base stations in Zamfara State.

The ban was later extended to 13 LGAs in Katsina, 14 LGAs in Sokoto and about seven LGAs in Kaduna. Zamfara State which has 14 LGA had telecoms services restored in the Gusau capital recently, leaving the ban in 13 LGAs. This brings the total number of LGAs affected by the ban currently to 47.

The 13 LGAs affected in Katsina are: Sabuwa, Faskari, Dandume, Batsari, Danmusa, Kankara, Jibia, Safana, Dutsin-Ma,Kurfi, Funtua, Bakori and Malumfashi.

The 14 LGAs affected in Sokoto are: Gada, Goronyo, Gudu, Gwadabawa, Illela, Isa, Kebbe, Sabon Birni, Shagari, Rabah, Tambuwal, Tangaza, Tureta and Wurno.

The seven LGAs reportedly affected in Kaduna are: Kajuru, Chikun, Igabi, Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Zaria and Zango-Kataf

Meanwhile, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, there are 2,177,431 voice subscribers and 1,592,746 Internet data subscribers in Zamfara State as of the first quarter of 2021.

In Katsina State, there were 5,096,874 active voice subscribers and 3,811,258 Internet data subscribers as of the first quarter of 2021, according to the NBS.

In Sokoto State, there were 3,215,534 voice subscribers and 2,329,133 Internet data subscribers as of the first quarter of 2021.

In Kaduna State, there were 8,608,198 active voice subscribers and 6,632,861 Internet data subscribers as of the first quarter of 2021.

The number of telecoms subscribers in the 13 LGAs in Katsina, 14 LGAs in Sokoto and seven LGAs in Kaduna affected by the ban could not be obtained from the NBS as there were no breakdowns of the figures on LGA basis.

A resident of Chikun, Kaduna, Mr Kenneth Okafor, told one of our correspondents on Thursday that he had to leave the comfort of his home at the Sabo Tasha area to Barnawa in the Kaduna South LGA to make and receive calls.

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