The Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria has raised an alarm over the shutting down of over 70 telecommunications sites by the Kogi State Government on Saturday, leading to a total blackout of telecom services in the state and other neighbouring states.
ALTON disclosed this in a press conference today in Lagos, complaining that communication services provided by the telecom operators to security agencies such as the Nigeria Police Force, the Armed Forces in addition and to other emergency and social services in Kogi and other neighboring states have been affected. .
“ALTON is worried by the action of the state government as it will jeopardise telecom services, especially to security agencies, and will affect communication links to Bank automatic teller machines (ATM) across those states, ” said Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of ALTON.
The closure of the sites, according to ALTON is 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).
Other states that are presently affected as a result of the closure are Nassarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger States and parts of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
This action of the Kogi State government 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. This, according Adebayo is not the truth.
The umbrella body of all licenced telecom operators in Nigeria, therefore called on President Mohammeddu Buhari and the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is driving the Presidential Enable Business Council on Ease of doing business in Nigeria to prevail on the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello to reign in on the matter to prevent a total blackout in communications services in Kogi, FCT and other Nine States of the Federation
ALTON also reminded the President on a communication from the office of the National Security Adviser to the 36 state governments on the fact that telecommunications sites are Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).