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Monday, November 19, 2018

Alarm! Nationwide telecom outage looms as Yahaya Bello shuts down 70 sites, 10 states affected - ITREALMS

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has raised an alarm of imminent telecom outage in the country following the shutdown of some 70 sites by Gov. Yahaya Bello government in Kogi State, reports ITREALMS

The shutdown will affect some 10 states including Kogi and nine others including Nassarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

Chairman, ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo in a chat with ITREALMS in Lagos Monday, extended urgent call to President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly intervene before it becomes too late as the impending blackout will adversely affect the security architecture of the country.

He expressed concern about the shutting down of telecommunications facilities in Kogi State as a result of disputes arising from unusual taxes and levies demanded by the Kogi State Government through its Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Kogi State Environmental Protection Board, championed by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).

“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 States. These are States sharing borders with Kogi State,” he declared.

This situation, he said, arises as a number of critical telecommunications sites belonging to ALTON members have been closed and sealed up by Kogi State Government in an attempt to increase its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection.

ITREALMS also gathered that this followed an ex-parte court order obtained by the KIRS over unsubstantiated allegations that ALTON members are in default of tax payments to the state government and access to these critical telecom sites has been denied.

This, ALTON said is not simply the truth, stressing that as a result of these actions by the state government, “our members are unable to refuel power generators in these sites, a situation which has led to outage of over 70 sites including hub sites across parts of Kogi State.”

With the likely impact on Nine States of the federation, which surrounds Kogi, namely, “Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger States, these are States sharing borders with Kogi State, and Abuja the FCT inclusive,” ALTON lamented.

“We are very concerned that this indiscriminate action has the potential of further leading to a total telecommunications outage in Kogi State with neighboring states and parts of the Federal Capital Territory adversely impacted,” ALTON decried.

The group insisted, however, that “To the best of our knowledge, our members have settled all statutory levies and taxes due to the Kogi State Government and have taken necessary steps to comply with local laws that govern business activities within Kogi State.”

Chuks Egbune/ED, Ops

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Pix: ALTON chair Adebayo speaking with Damain Udeh and Mr. Aremu

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