The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has expressed concern over possible shut down of telecommunications facilities in Kogi and nine other states as a result of disputes arising from unusual taxes and levies demanded by the Kogi State Government.
In a statement issued on Monday and signed by ALTON Chairman, Engineer Gbenga Adebayo, the telecom operators said the shutdown will 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 states to include Nassarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Niger States.
Adebayo said this follows closure of critical telecommunications sites by the State Government in an attempt to arbitrarily increase its Internally Generated Revenue, IGR. He said with the denial of access to critical telecom sites, members have been unable to refuel power generators, a situation which has already led to outage in over seventy sites including hub sites across parts of Kogi State.
Adebayo expressed concern that that the action by the Kogi state government will jeopardize communication services provided to security agencies as well as other emergency and social services including banks.
Adebayo recalled that the office of the National Security Adviser to the President has in the past noted that telecommunications sites are Critical National Infrastructure and as such, sealing them would have negative implications on national security.
ALTON called on the President and Vice President of Nigeria to prevail on the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello to intervene in the matter so as to prevent a total blackout in communications services in Kogi and neighbouring states.