FROM CHIDI NNADI, ENUGU
The Enugu State government has expressed displeasure over telecommunication companies’ inability to pay fines imposed on them for non-compliance with various regulations in the state.
The state government, aside payments made as statutory fees, had imposed fines on the telecommunication companies as deterrent for some unlawful conduct just as it also requested them to carry out certain documentations relating to their cell sites and requirements for building and planning approvals within the state.
But the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development, Mr. Geoffrey Udenwani, told newsmen yesterday in Enugu that the government was yet to receive these documents and payments.
“The Enugu state government has on several occasions placed temporary rubber sticker seals on some of the cell site base stations in an attempt to ensure compliance by the telecommunications companies, but on each of these occasions they have, of their own volition, removed the seals.
“Even when the government went further to place chains and padlocks on a few of the cell sites, these were also broken by the telecoms companies so that they may gain illegal access to the sites and thereby continue to sidestep the law.”
“Under pressure from various national bodies such as the National Communications Commission (NCC), the National Security Adviser (NSA), among others, the state government discontinued the practice of sealing the cell sites but instead decided to seal certain offices of the telecoms companies within the state until a suitable resolution is found. These seals have also been removed, with business continuing as usual at those locations. But it is only in Nigeria that such corporations operate in illegality and with impunity,” he lamented.
Udenwani, therefore, said his ministry would continue to pursue these goals, adding that the drive would transcend the current administration if necessary “because the information required from the telecoms companies are critical to the overall policies and plans of the government, assuring that the Enugu State government will not relent until all its conditions are met and an amicable solution is found.”
According to him, the government, through the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development, discovered that most telecommunication service operators within the state were guilty of building cell sites without due consideration for permits and safety.
“The Enugu State Ministry of Lands decided to go on a drive to ensure that these haphazardly developed sites are identified and all the fees duly paid to the state government in so far as the sites themselves are not in a place where they are considered harmful to the populace. In this instance, the cell site base station would have to be shut down and decommissioned due to overwhelming public interest.
Source : SunOnline