By Oluwaseun Sonde
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given telecommunication companies (telcos) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 90 days ultimatum to rehabilitate or dismantle the 693 telecommunication masts/towers abandoned all around the country.
According to the information released by the commission, NCC has identified several abandoned telecommunication masts and towers located in various parts of the country.
The commission admitted that “failure to maintain these structures over long periods of time has resulted in their technical failure and constant vandalization with negative consequences on public health and safety.
NCC also noted in a public notice signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Dr Henry Nkemadu that in certain locations, it was observed that criminals took advantage of these abandoned structures to host illegal broadcast equipment for relaying subversive messages against the State.
“The Commission issued Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Installation of Telecommunications Masts and Towers in 2009 to provide for various issues including the appropriate maintenance of telecommunications masts and towers, and in line with the provision of the Guidelines, owners of the under listed abandoned masts and towers are hereby given notice to rehabilitate, commence usage or dismantle and remove the masts/towers from the relevant locations within 90 (Ninety) days of the publication of this notice.
In an effort to improve telecommunication services coupled with protection of Nigerian citizens, NCC decried the position of the telcos and ISPs as regards to this.
Furthermore the commission highlighted that upon the expiration of the grace period, it holds the power to dismantle any abandoned masts while the affected parties bear the brunt.
“Please note that, where there is a failure to comply with this directive, the Commission shall exercise its regulatory mandate by taking necessary steps to decommission / dismantle the relevant abandoned masts/towers.
“Affected licensees will also be required to reimburse the Commission for expenses in this regard, in addition to the payment of a fine as provided in Chapter 5 (4)(d) of the Guidelines”,NCC noted.