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Nigeria's falling comms towers raise concerns


Banks operating in Nigeria’s Lagos state have been warned by the government to maintain their existing communications masts and towers, as a spate of collapsing infrastructure has put lives and properties in the region at risk.

Nigeria only has 500,000 fixed lines for its 160 million people, according to the country’s communication commission. And as a result, businesses such as banks setup their own mobile communication masts and towers to transmit data.

However, the reportedly incessant collapse of these masts and towers has government officials in the country worried about the damage to property and even peoples’ lives.

The general manager, Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit (UFRU) of PPUD, Joe Igbokwe has said it is illegal for any bank to build a mast, tower or antenna in the Lagos metropolis area, without seeking a permit from UFRU, the body empowered by the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development (PPUD) to regulate masts and towers installation in the state.

Igbokwe has gone as far as to threaten banks that his organisation could pull down their infrastructure.

“If the banks failed to pull down their weak masts and towers, UFRU, will embark on such exercise at the expense of the banks as it did in the past,” he said.

Bank officials in the country agreed to heed Igbokwe’s calls.

Moreover, Nigeria’s telecoms operators have reportedly also welcomed Igbokwe’s comments.

However, the country’s telcos advised the state government to align with the Federal Government agencies such as National Environmental Standards, Regulatory and Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to avoid double regulations and multiple taxation.

The Lagos State Government in May this year had established UFRU through the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, to regulate the activities of mast operators, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the area of masts and towers installations.


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