Nigeria: Senate – Legislation On Closure of Telcos’ Cell Sites Not Necessary

Nigeria: Senate – Legislation On Closure of Telcos’ Cell Sites Not Necessary

Chairman, House Committee on Federal Road Safety Commission, Hon. Abubakar Yunusa has said that the best approach to the indiscriminate closure of telecoms cell sites across the country by government agencies was conflict resolution.

According to him, issues such as the indiscriminate closure of telecoms cell sites would be best handled by the Senate Committee on Conflict Resolution, and not through legislation.

Incessant and indiscriminate closure of telecoms cell sites by some government agencies have been a source of concern for telecoms operators as the situation is currently affecting service quality in some locations that are connected to the affected cell sites. The most recent of them all, was the closure of over 100 cell sites in Ogun State, belonging to telecoms operators and infrastructure collocation companies that acquired most of the telecoms cell sites that hitherto belonged exclusively to telecoms operators.

In Ogun State, the Ministry of Urban and Regional Planning, penultimate month, closed down over 100 cell sites belonging to telecoms operators and infrastructure collocation companies. The ministry is demanding between N100, 000 and N200,000 per cell site as fine for non-payment of permit fee before the cell sites were installed.

Although the cell sites were long installed, the ministry decided to shut down the cell sites in the state indiscriminately.

Worried about the situation, the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) intervened in the matter, but the ministry maintained its ground on the issue.

Yunusa told THISDAY that enacting laws on the issue would not address it in an amicably way.

He therefore advised telecoms operators to rather report the matter to the Senate Committee on Conflict Resolution, to address it. He said the committee is open to members of the public and had resolved individual and collective issues concerning Nigerians in the past.

“Telcos must take full advantage of the activities of the Senate Committee on Conflict Resolution to address telecoms issues.

They must engage the Senators representing various constituencies where issues are arising from to address the issue without going through legislation. We have listening ears and we pay attention to public petitions, and work on them speedily,” Yunusa said.

“Nigerians should see the National Assembly members as a group of people working for the common good of the country. We represent our constitutions at various levels and we will continue to represent them well. Let me state categorically that the eight Assembly, which we represent, has done better than the past Assemblies Nigeria ever had, in terms of what we have done, based on the quality of lawmakers that make up the eight Assembly,” Yunusa added.

Speaking on the roles of the National Assembly in creating laws, Yunusa said: “The Senate is conscious of its responsibilities to enact laws that will enhance business transactions in the country.”

He cited instances where the Senate debated on the executive bill that seeks to address telecoms infrastructure as national infrastructure, insisting that such infrastructure needs government protection because of its importance to economic development.

“The National Assembly is work in progress with the executive arm of government and we collaborate in most situations to liberate Nigeria. We ratified the bill for bailout of states and that bill repositioned the states that were financially weak, and could not meet up to their responsibilities. We were also instrumental to the enabling laws that helped Nigeria to go out of recession,” Yunusa said.

He further explained that the National Assembly has removed a lot of impediments and created enabling laws that have repositioned the Nigerian economy to thrive well.

When asked about his views on the call for restructuring of the country, Yunusa said such call would only be acceptable by all if Nigerians must first restructure their individual thinking as citizens.

Source: This Day