State MDAs frustrating access to telecommunications — NCC

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State Ministries, Departments and Agencies are hampering access to telecommunications, the Nigerian Communications Commission has said.

Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, at NCC, Mr Sunday Dare, said this at a stakeholders’ parliament in Lokoja on Thursday.

Dare who was represented at the event with the theme ‘Optimising the benefits of telecoms infrastructure in Nigeria’ by Deputy Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, Mr Tobbi. Mohammed, said various policies and actions of state MDAs were inimical to accessing telecommunications services.

He listed some of the actions of the states that hinder access to telecommunications services to include failure to grant approval for citing base stations, inordinate charges, delays and outright denial of right-of-way and shutting down of base stations.

The NCC helmsman said that such actions deny citizens access to telecommunications which the states and their agencies should be promoting.

Dare said the shutting down of one base stations in one state was capable of affecting services in a number of states, especially if the affected base station was a hub.

He said, “In this regard, we are concerned that preparations for this parliament were unfortunately overshadowed by events in the past two weeks which saw Kogi State Internal Revenue Agency sealing up some Base Transceiver Stations sites around the state.

“To emphasise the interconnectedness of the national telecoms network, we should note that although less than 20 BTS sites were shut down, but because many of them were ‘hub’ sites, their being ‘off-line’ immediately affected over 150 BTS sites in Nasarawa, Benin, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger State and the FCT.

“This led to outages and service degradation which affected millions of innocent telecoms users across these other states.

“If we were to quantify the monetary impact of the disruptions to communications, banking (PoS, ATMs, etc.), security, health and other platforms which rely on the infrastructure, I am sure the national economy would have lost billions of Naira during that short period. We must avoid this kind of disruptions at all costs.”

Speaking at the event, Kogi State Director of Urban and Regional Planning Board, Rikiya Ibrahim, urged mobile operators and other telecommunications service providers to consult relevant state agencies in their operations.

Ibrahim said proper consultation was necessary to forestall confrontation that could result in the shutting down of telecommunication facilities.

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