Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), has alerted Nigerians that ten states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, may experience a total outage of telecoms services in the next few days.
The fear of the outage in the states emerged following the shutdown of several base stations by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service.
Kogi State government had requested from the telecom companies the payment of about 36 statutory and non-statutory taxes and levies through its Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Kogi State Environmental Protection Board, and championed by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).
The ALTON chairman explained that members of the association had settled all statutory levies and taxes due to the Kogi State Government and had taken necessary steps to comply with local laws that govern business activities within the state.
While addressing some newsmen in Lagos, Adebayo had alleged that an attempt by the Kogi State Government to increase its internally generated revenue had led to the sealing of hub sites in Kogi, which has multiple connections with other base stations in neighbouring states.
Adebayo said, As a result of the action by the state government, members of the association are unable to refuel power generators in these sites, a situation which has led to the outage of over 70 sites including hub sites across parts of Kogi State.
Adebayo added that the number of affected sites had risen to 150, and more sites are likely to be affected in the next few days that will lead to the total outage of telecoms services in the nine states.
The nine states which are likely to be affected by the outage include Nasarawa, Benue, Enugu, Anambra, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, and Niger States. These are states sharing borders with Kogi State; Abuja, the FCT is also inclusive.
According to Adebayo, the total outage would not only affect telecoms services but would also affect banking services like Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and Point of Sales (PoS) that are used for financial transactions, since such financial services are delivered on the platform of telecoms infrastructure.
Adebayo stressed that the imminent outage would also affect national security issues in the nine states and Abuja, should there be any delay in addressing the issue.