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Telecoms blackout imminent in Abuja, nine states as Kogi State shuts sites

By Adeyemi Adepetun
29 March 2022   |   12:44 am
Telecommunication blackout is imminent in about 10 states of Nigeria, the telecoms operators have warned. The operators under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) on Monday expressed concerns about the shutting down of telecommunications facilities in Kogi State as a result of disputes arising from what it described as…

Telecommunication blackout is imminent in about 10 states of Nigeria, the telecoms operators have warned.

The operators under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) on Monday expressed concerns about the shutting down of telecommunications facilities in Kogi State as a result of disputes arising from what it described as unusual taxes and levies demanded by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).

ALTON said the issue is likely to lead to a total communications blackout in the entire Kogi State, parts of Abuja the Federal Capital Territory and possible impact on service availability in some parts of Nassarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger States.

ALTON’s chairman and head of operations, Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga respectively, said in a statement that a number of critical telecommunications sites belonging to its members have been closed and sealed up by Kogi State Government in an attempt to increase its Internally Generated Revenue IGR Collection.

This action, according to the telecoms body, followed an ex-parte court order obtained by the KIRS over unsubstantiated allegations that operators were in default of tax payments to the state government.

“As a result of these actions by the state government, our members are unable to refuel power generators in these sites, a situation which has led to outage of over 70 sites including hub sites across parts of Kogi State. Now, with likely impact on the nine states surrounding Kogi (namely:- Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger States. These are States sharing borders with Kogi State), and Abuja the FCT inclusive,” Adebayo and Awonuga said in the statement.

“We are very concerned that this indiscriminate action has the potential of further leading to a total telecommunications outage in Kogi State with neighbouring states and parts of the Federal Capital Territory adversely impacted.”

The body said its members have settled all statutory levies and taxes due to the Kogi State Government and have taken necessary steps to comply with local laws that govern business activities within Kogi State.