The federal government has disclosed that the shutdown of telecommunication activities in Zamfara State over banditry was done at the request of the nation’s security agencies.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, the measure did not originate from his ministry,
explaining that when the security agencies proposed it as an effective way to curtail the bandits, the federal government did not object to it.
He further explained that government was willing to sacrifice economic gains in the telecom sector for security benefits.
He appealed to Nigerians to show understanding of the measure and support the efforts of the security agencies.
He said, “I want to clarify to all of us that the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999, Section 14, Subsection 2, under Article B, has expounded to us that the primary responsibility of government is the security and welfare of its citizens.
“Understanding the priority of security makes the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) always make sure that our priority number one is security because this is what the Constitution says and any action to be taken, as long as it will support security institutions to achieve and deliver their responsibilities, the government is willing to do that for them.
“Furthermore, security issues cannot be discussed in public like this. Most importantly, I am not in a better position to justify the shutting down of telecommunications because of security. I am aware of the shutting down, but the request is not from us. Rather, the request is from the security institutions, in which they asked for that as part of their strategy.
“Because of this, the government allowed them to go ahead and even that one, the reason for doing that I may be aware of some, but I’m sorry to say it’s not for public discussion. What I only plead with all of us, as laymen, we shall try to give our security institutions the support they need todeliver on their mandate.
“Security issues today are not only for the security institutions alone, but there is a role that each and every citizen can play in order to make their work more successful. So, I plead with the media to support our security institutions and let us give them the benefit of doubt; when they come up with a strategy, let us not unnecessarily criticise it, except we allow them to begin and see.
“Particularly, they could have information at their disposal that you and I do not have and if you lack information, you will not be able to do justice in your deliberation. It is only when there is sufficient information at your disposal, then you can argue, but if you don’t have it, even if you partake in any debate, you will finally discover that you have made a very wrong decision.
“So, it is because of this. This is originally a request from Zamfara State government, in which they have requested the federal government to support them and Mr. President, as we always know that his priority is security and he always listens to complaints and new strategies on how to handle so he is very much aware.
“It is a trial, let us support them and based on the information we have been reading and hearing through the media that tremendous successes have been recorded so far.
“So, we need to support them to make sure that our country is secured and this is going to be good for all of us,” Pantami stated.