By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA—THE people of Umuoranma community in Awka, Anambra State capital, have petitioned the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, over a telecommunications mast installed in the area by Starcomms Telecommunications Limited, claiming that the closeness of the mast to their homes was injurious to the health of the residents.
Leader of the community, Ozo James Eze, who wrote the petition through his counsel, Mr. P.I. Agbata, urged NCC to intervene immediately to save the lives of the people living in the area since the company had infringed on the regulations guiding the installation of telecommunications’ mast in residential areas.
The petition read in part: “Starcomms built a very high block wall fence on a land it acquired in the area before commencing the building of the base or foundation of its said communications mast. This made it impossible for people living around the area to discover on time what the company was doing on its land.
“Currently, the company is working day and night to see that the installation of the mast is completed as quickly as possible.
The worrisome aspect of the situation is that the area where Starcomms is erecting the mast is less than five metres from my land and very close to habitable residences of other people living within the neighbourhood.
“The area of the mast is also less than 10 meters from my compound and those of us living in the area are worried and agitated ever since they discovered the installation because we know the dangerous health implications and consequences of installing a telecommunications mast close to habitable houses.”
“We are, therefore, appealing to you to intervene in the matter immediately since NCC is statutorily empowered to see that the operations of telecommunications companies are performed in utmost safety and quality with serious regard to human lives as provided in Section 4 (b) of the NCC Act (CAP N97) laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Eze alleged that many people who rented houses in the area have started packing out because of the presence of the mast and urged NCC to direct Starcomms to discontinue work at the site as the residents of the area had become restive.
It was gathered that following the protest, top officials of NCC have visited the site and held a discussions with leaders of the community and officials of Starcomms, with a view to ordering the relocation of the mast to a safer area.
Vanguard recalls that only recently, an Awka High Court ordered the same Starcomms to dismantle a mast erected in another part of Awka, following complaints by residents of the area.