Telecoms operators want FG to intervene in Kogi sites’ shutdown

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By Chinenye Anuforo, [email protected]

Telecommunications operators, under the aegis of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), have urged the Federal Government to intervene in the shutdown of telecommunications facilities in Kogi State because of disputes arising from unusual taxes and levies demanded by the state  through the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).

Chairman of the association, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, during a press conference in Lagos, said, if the government does not intervene in the matter, it will commence action following the process laid down for this kind of matter with the regulator.

He explained that part of the actions could be to review prices or charge discriminating prices in Kogi State.

Adebayo said the action by KIRS was hinged on an ex parte court order obtained by the KIRS over unsubstantiated allegations that ALTON members were in default of tax payments to the state government and access to these critical telecom sites has been denied.

He said, “This issue is likely to lead to a total communications blackout in the entire Kogi State, parts of Abuja the Federal Capital Territory and possible impact on service availability in some parts of the following states: Nassarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger. These are states sharing borders with Kogi State.”

The ALTON chairman said, as a result of these actions by the state government, his members were unable to refuel the power generators nor provide any support or maintenance services in the sites, which has resulted in the outage of over 70 sites, including hub sites across parts of Kogi.

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“The impact of these outages will gradually spread to the states mentioned above and, if no action is taken within the next few days, a total outage of telecommunication sites in all these states will be catastrophically experienced.”

Adebayo also raised concerns about the degrading quality of services in the FCT.

He said the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), office of the Director for Signage & Advertisement, has refused to grant telecommunication service providers permit to build infrastructure in the capital city and this was affecting the quality of services around the FCT and Abuja.

He also lamented the rising cost of diesel and its implications on the general high cost of business.

“We are concerned that, unless there is an intervention to save this sector, operators will have no choice than to begin a process of price review.

The state of security on our country is of concern, whole we commend all our security agencies for the work they do to keep us all safe, the impact of the general state of security on the country is that we are not able to provide 24/7 support in certain areas as it is unsafe to send out service personnel to some parts of the country and to other at certain times of the day”, Adebayo stated.

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