BY Tony Edike
ENUGU State Governor, Sullivan Chime, has advised telecommunications firms to first obtain the approval of the government before setting up their masts in order to avoid defacing of the state’s master plan. Chime gave the advice when the Board of Commissioners of the Nigerian Communications Commission paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Enugu.
The governor, who reacted to concerns raised by the NCC delegation especially on the challenges faced by telecoms service providers in expanding their networks, Chime advised the firms to collaborate with the government in the establishment of telecommunications infrastructure.
He said, “The network providers don’t go to the government. Maybe they feel it is cheaper or more convenient for them – they just go to the landlords not knowing that government owns most of the land. “Sometimes you find the masts erected dangerously close to where people live. These issues can be easily managed if they (service providers) talk to the government.
“They can be given places where they can erect their masts – you can’t just go to a city and set up a mast like that. So I advise the network providers to talk more to the government. “If you want to lay your pipes or cables, you should talk to the relevant agencies of government. That will help the network providers and also help the government when we work on roads.” The governor, however, commended the NCC for the fast revolution in the telecommunications sector, assuring that his government would collaborate with the commission in the area of Emergency Call Services as part of its efforts to ensure security of lives and property in the state.
The Chairman of the NCC Board of Commissioners, Engr. Peter Igoh, said the delegation came to seek the governor’s support towards addressing challenges encountered by service providers. “The issue of right of way, and multiple taxation, deserve attention, there are multiple taxation and regulations that await the service providers at the various levels of government, including the state governments, local governments and even some communities,” he said.
Igoh added that in most cases, telecommunications masts and other infrastructure become targets for multiple taxation and regulations even when appropriate taxes had been imposed at the federal level.
He urged the governor to support a proposed law which would classify telecommunications infrastructure as public property, and as a result, place them under the special protection of government.