Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ATCON wants FG to probe sale of NECOM house

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has called on the federal government to probe the purported sale of NECOM House for the sum of N4 billion to African Aluminum Ltd.

The African Aluminum Limited is purportedly owned by the father of the speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole.

While reacting to some media report at the weekend, ATCON called for a review of the sale of NECOM House for the sum of N4bn.

ATCON president, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu said that a recent report gave an indication that NECOM House, Nigeria’s tallest building and the major real estate asset of the ailing Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd, NITEL, may have been put out on sale for N4billion without due process.

According to him, ATCON has reason to think that the media reports may not entirely be rumour and wondered why the building could be sold for a paltry N4 billion.

“We have reason to think the story cannot be true as we do not expect, ordinarily, that the building, 32 levels above ground which is located at the Marina, the most prime location in Nigeria, can be sold for a pittance that N4billion is,” he said in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online and co-signed by the General Secretary, ATCON, Mr. David Roberts.

Therefore, ATCON pointed out that it has a stake in the investment of NITEL as it’s a national asset.

“Our association has a stake in the sense that it represents an aggregate of investments in telecommunications in the country,” he said.

Emphasising that NECOM House as it stands today houses major components of some of the submarine cables whose destabilization, in whatever form, may affect our members’ investments and also the cost of telecommunications services to Nigerians in the foreseeable future.

ATCON therefore wants the Federal Government to assemble a team of experts to probe the purported sale in the public interest.

“Our association calls on the Federal Government to kindly assemble a team of independent valuation specialists to take a second look at the value of the building for public interest,” ATCON insisted.

Meanwhile, just last week, ATCON endorsed W.Afri.Tel exhibition, now in its eleventh year, saying it has in the past one decade become the main platform for the celebration of Nigeria’s success in telecommunications.

Both W.Afri.Tel and WAFICT, he said have become veritable platforms for the cross-fertilisation of ideas that continue to contribute to the development of many fruitful policies the country is witnessing today.

Omo-Ettu, who rated the two events as the best in the sub-region, said he encourages every serious ICT company in the West Africa to avail itself of the opportunity being offered by WAFICT and W.Afri.Tel to reach a wide market that cuts across the entire ICT ecosystem.

According to Mr. Abang, the platform would equally serve as an avenue for celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Nigerian telecom revolution.

WAFICT Congress 2011, he said, will run alongside the 11th edition of the W.Afri.Tel, organised by EMS of South Africa, from June 14-16.

WAFICT is being organised by IT & Telecom Digest, in conjunction with the UK-based Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), and has the theme: The Emerging New Frontier: – Opportunities and Potentials for Sustainable Growth in West Africa.

Remmy Nweke:
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