SERAP’s Call to End Suspension of Communication in Zamfara Done in Bad Taste
By Zailani Bappa
A Non-Governmental Organization in the name of Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, within the week called on the President, Muhammadu Buhari to direct the National Communications Commission (NCC), to end its total suspension of communications in Zamfara and some local Government areas in Katsina state. According to the NGO, the measure was a collective punishment on the citizens in those states.
Hear them” The suspension of the internet and telecommunication networks in Zamfara and Katsina states, without any legal justification, is inconsistent with the principles of necessity and proportionality. The suspension is a form of collective punishment of Nigerians resident in these states.”
I found this call absurd then, hence, ignored it as it was also ignored by both the Government and the Nigerian public because that was what it deserved. You respond to substance not to mediocrity. However, when the call was re-echoed this morning, I found it necessary to put in these few words of response. This is in spite of the fact that I remain suspicious of the intent of the group by making this unpopular call.
It is very obvious that SERAP is inhibited by ignorant members on the social and security problems of the same people they pretend to protect. Otherwise, it is out of vision and stuff and is desperate to satisfy its financial contributors and remain afloat. Whoever are the “citizens” in Zamfara state whose rights have been trampled by this act of Communications cut-off are not happy with SERAP and that can be verified by all the interviews the media had conducted with the various segments of the society in Zamfara state since the action was taken to date.
I will hear, assume that SERAP is acting out of ignorance of the current realities in Zamfara state. It is pertinent to attempt to clear this ignorance especially at this dark hour of its security history. This is a state where bandits have almost taken control of its remote rural areas and have made its highways a day and night nightmare. People are daily kidnapped for ransom while unluckier ones are killed. The bandits do not discriminate between the wealthy and the poor, civilians and the uniformed, Christians and Muslims or indigenes and non indigenes. Since everyone lives in the state, and everyone ply our roads, everyone remain vulnerable.
In this kind of scenario, one wonders who are the group of citizens that are joined in collective punishment for mere lack of communications for a certain period. So far, the information reaching us indicate that all citizens resident in Zamfara state are happy with the measure taken by the state Government and many indicate their willingness to extend this sacrifice for a year ahead if it will ensure the peace needed in the state. Only SERAP seems unhappy that Zamfara State is on its path to finding a lasting peace for the people.
In its wildest imagination, SERAP cannot assume that the state Government is happy with the new measure taken or that it is serving the interest of any segment of the society where others are not concerned? Such a thought is naive and unbefitting to an NGO that ought to have knowledgeable members and leadership. Other se it is done in bad taste.
For a clearer information to SERAP, due to the successes being reported as a result of this measure, the state Government is extending the black-out beyond the initial two weeks earlier announced which was to end yesterday. And this will continue until the desired result is achieved in breaking the backbone of banditry in the state.