Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Shutting down GSM service is not helping war on terror

Nigerians woke up this morning to the sad news of terrorists hitting several military bases in Maiduguri. Number of casualties is not yet known.

It must be clear to the authorities by now that shutting down communication to fight Boko Haram is not as smart as they originally thought it was. Shutting down GSM services is a double edged sword, which cuts both ways; and from the incident of yesterday it is clear that it is cutting the society more than it is cutting the insurgents.

How can you explain over 400 terrorists invading a city for 6 hours and everywhere they got to, they still had the element of surprise in their favour? This is a city where at least one person in every household must have a phone.

Terrorists overran a military formation and headed for the next target and then the next, and all of them were taken unawares?!!!

This is the sort of thing you would expect in the day and age when NITEL held sway and only your traditional ruler and a handful of rich men had phones, not in 2013.

Where there is efficient communication, the element of surprise is lost the moment the first target is hit. In a few minutes, everyone else knows what is going, and those who want to run can run while the security forces can get prepared.

 I hope the authorities will draw useful lessons from this horrible incident and restore GSM services immediately.

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