Abuja - Local telecommunications operators have appealed to government for assistance to tackle widespread vandalism and theft of equipment.
The organisations, under the umbrella body, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said such incidents and alleged lack of support by government to reverse the trend were impeding on their efforts to carry out expansion projects and thus improve their services.
The telecoms operators said the support of government was vital in handling the two major problems-vandalism and theft- among a number of barriers that hindered expansion projects.
President of the association, Lanre Ajayi, said the country would continue experiencing poor services if government failed to take urgent steps to assist telecoms operator in tackling such barriers, which were also hindering productivity.
“The telecoms revolution will be a mirage if government does not take urgent steps in mitigating vandalism and theft of telecom equipment at the Base Transmission Stations (BTS),” he said.
Ajayi appealed to government to address challenges posed by corrupt officials of the three tiers of government, bureaucratic bottleneck in acquiring approval to build BTS and the protracted issue of granting Right-of-Way.
He alleged that efforts by operators to invest in BTS rollouts for improved service were being frustrated by agencies of the state and local governments.
“Factors impeding quick rollout of BTS that were critical to quality services include the delay by the relevant authorities in approving the site building proposals for the operators. This is preventing the operators from achieving the number of BTS the country needs to guarantee better services,” he said.
Ajayi urged the states and local governments to work together with the telecom operators in building more BTS for enhanced services in the sector.
Nigeria plans to enact legislation that will classify telecom equipment as critical national infrastructure and thus criminalise acts of vandalism or sabotage against such infrastructure.
– CAJ News