Telecoms lose $4.6bn annually to terrorism – NATCOMS

Telecoms lose $4.6bn annually to terrorism – NATCOMS

Nigeria’s National Association Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) has said telecoms companies operating in Nigeria lose more than NGN750 billion (US$4.6 billion) every year to terror attacks in northern Nigeria.

Deolu Ogunbanjo, president of NATCOMS, said telecoms are doing business under dire conditions in northern Nigeria, which is adversely affecting their operations.

According to him, terrorists in the affected regions do not want communication, which is why a Base Transceiver Station (BTS) is usually their first target.

He said some state governors conspired with federal legislators from their states to obstruct the Critical Infrastructure Bill (CIB) before the National Assembly.

“This is because of the illegal tax and levies, they are imposing on telecoms operators,” he said.

When passed into law, the bill would make it an offence for anybody to willfully tamper with, damage or destroy any telecom facility across the country, as is the case for power cables and installations.

Nigerian operators, subscriber groups and the government have been at loggerheads in recent months, with the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) criticising the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for offering to support telecoms subscribers planning to drag the networks to court over poor service quality.

ALTON has previously blamed excessive demands by state agencies, as well as terrorist attacks, for poor service quality, and said negative publicity around the Nigerian telecoms sector is bad for the country’s economy.

HumanIPO reported earlier this year operators MTN, Globacom and Airtel reluctantly paid a total of NGN647.5 million (US$4 million) in fines imposed on them by the NCC for poor service quality.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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