The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has accused the Governor of Kogi State, Mr. Yahaya Bello of declaring war against telecom services in Kogi State and seven other neighboring states.
The Chairman of ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo who made the accusation today at a press conference in Lagos said the Kogi State government has ordered the shutting down of all cellular sites in the state, resulting in the non-availability of telecom services in the state and its environs.
“We wish to state that the shutting down of cellular sites in Kogi State is a war against telecom services, which is presently a critical service in terms of security and contribution to the economy,” he said at the press conference.
He explained that the shutting down of telecommunications facilities in Kogi State is because of disputes arising from unusual taxes and levies demanded by the Kogi State Government through the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).
While urging the federal government to intervene and call the Kogi State government to order, ALTON warned that the shutting down is likely to lead to a total communications blackout in the entire Kogi State, parts of Abuja and possible impact on service availability in some parts of neighboring states like Nassarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara and Niger States.
ALTON said the Kogi State’s action has resulted in its members not being able to refuel their power generators nor providing any support or maintenance services in these sites, a situation which has currently resulted in the outage of over 70 sites including hub sites across parts of Kogi State.
According to him, if no action is taken by the government within the next few days, a total outage of telecommunication sites in all these states will be catastrophically experienced.
“We want to be clear and state categorically that the action by Kogi will not only jeopardize communication services provided by our members to the Nigerian subscribers but will have the greater effect of negatively impacting the use of critical communication infrastructure by our National and State security agencies in the discharge of their duties to provide necessary security for the country, especially in these trying times, when communication across states should be uninterrupted and seamless,” Engr Adebayo warned.