The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may decommission about 693 telecoms masts alleged to have been abandoned in several parts of the country.
In a public notice titled: “First phase of Decommissioning/Dismantling of Abandoned Masts/Towers in the Country,” and signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Henry Nkemadu the NCC said failure to maintain these structures over long periods of time has resulted in their technical failure and constant vandalisation with negative consequences on public health and safety.
In the press statement by the NCC, the commission said it has identified several abandoned telecommunication masts and towers located in various parts of the country.
They have given owners of the mast 90-days to rehabilitate, commence usage or dismantle and remove the masts/towers from the relevant locations.
Nkemadu, said it 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.
In line with the provision of the Guidelines, “owners of the 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 days of the publication of this notice.”
The Commission noted that where there is a failure to comply with the directive, it shall exercise its regulatory mandate by taking necessary steps to decommission / dismantle the relevant abandoned masts/towers.
NCC said 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.
From the North West region, 65 abandoned masts will be brought down; North East has 48 to be brought down and in the North Central, 64 telecoms mast may be brought down, the statement added.
The NCC said that criminals took advantage of the abandoned structures to host illegal broadcast equipment for relaying subversive messages against the State.