Telcos warn of service disruption in 11 states, blame Kogi govt

Telcos warn of service disruption in 11 states, blame Kogi govt
Ten states and parts of federal capital territory (FCT) may soon experience telecommunications services blackout following tax disputes between the Kogi government and mobile network operators.
Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators (ALTON), made this known during a press briefing in Lagos on Monday.
He said the Kogi state government shut down 150 base transceiver stations belonging to mobile telecoms operators as a result of disputes arising from taxes and levies.
The operators had in April appealed to the ministry of finance to review the 2015 Amended Taxes & Levies Order.
Speaking on behalf of the telco operators, the ALTON chairman said the taxes imposed on them were “arbitrary and unusual”.
He said with the shutdown of the base stations, the activities of major government agencies and private organisations were already affected.
“The operators, comprising MTN, Globacom, Airtel, 9Mobile and Ntel, said that 150 base stations have been shut by the state’s revenue agency,” he said.
“As result of these actions by Kogi state government, our members are unable to refuel power generators in these sites, a situation which has led to outage of over 150 sites including hub sites across parts of Kogi state.
“This will definitely affect 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.
“ALTON is worried that the action by Kogi will jeopardise communication services provided by us to security agencies such as the Nigeria Police Force, the Armed Forces in addition and to other emergency and social services in Kogi and other neighbouring states.
“This will include affecting communication links to bank automated teller machines (ATM) across those states.
“The outage currently being experienced is already affecting the ability of our members to provide uninterrupted service delivery to commercial banks, Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other critical agencies of government in the aforementioned locations.”
Adebayo said the shutdown of base stations was as a result of an ex-parte court order obtained by the Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS) over “unsubstantiated allegations that the telecom operators were in default of tax payments to the state government”.
He said telecommunications sites were critical national infrastructure (CNI) which should not be tampered with, adding that efforts to resolve the tax dispute had yielded no result.