By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has accused state Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of hampering deployment of critical ICT infrastructure for national development.
The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management in the Commission, Mr Sunday Dare, said that the Commission was worried about the activities of some government agencies which hamper progress in the telecommunications sector by refusing to grant required approvals timely to operators for infrastructure development in the states.
Dare, who was represented by Deputy Director, Legal and Regulatory Services at NCC, G.T Mohammed, made this known yesterday, at the stakeholders parliament in Kogi State, also accused the states of imposing inordinate charges for building approvals and ‘Rights-of-Way’, adding that they also frequently interfere with operations of such infrastructure by shutting them down at will, saying citizens suffer when industry faces challenges of this nature.
“In this regard, we are concerned that preparations for this parliament were unfortunately overshadowed by events in the past two weeks which saw Kogi State Internal Revenue Agency sealing up some Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) sites around the state. To emphasize the interconnectedness of the national telecoms network, we should note that although less than 20 BTS sites were shut down, but because many of these were “hub” sites, their being ‘off-line’ immediately affected over 150 BTS sites in Nasarawa, Benin, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger State and the FCT. This led to outages and service degradation which affected millions of innocent telecoms users across these other states.
“If we were to quantify the monetary impact of the disruptions to communications, banking (PoS, ATMs, etc.), security, health and other platforms which rely on these infrastructure, I am sure the national economy would have lost billions of Naira during that short period. we must avoid this kind of disruptions at all costs,” he said.