The House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications has relaxed the directive preventing IHS Towers, a mobile telecommunications infrastructure provider, from completing about 243 telecommunication masts under construction across the states of the Federation.
However, the Committee being Chaired by Honourable Saheed Akinade-Fijabi directed the Nation’s Telecommunications regulatory authority, the National Communication Commission (NCC) to conclude its investigation over allegations of market stiffening levied against IHS by another service provider, SWAP Technologies and Telecoms.
The Committee also made IHS Head of Intergovernmental Affairs, Mr Abbey Bond, to sign an undertaking that adequate sanctions, including compensation, would apply if the NCC report indicts the company.
SWAP had in 2017 petition the House, over an alleged breach of NCC regulation on the citing of based stations.
Consequently, the House mandated committee to investigate the allegation which prompted in November 2017 to direct IHS to halt installation of the facilities in contention, pending the outcome of the investigation by the NCC.
Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Dambatta, who led other management staff of the commission to the investigative hearing, pleaded for a period of three weeks within which the investigation would be concluded.
Dambatta who was represented by the Director in charge of Public Affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo, told the Committee that the Commission had set-up a committee to ascertain the level of compliance with the NCC regulations.
According To him, “NCC has a standard regulation for installation of masts, for instance, there must be a minimum distance of 1km for a mast of 355-meter height. We only received the coordinate from SWAP in February, we have set up a committee to investigate and the report will be ready in three weeks,” the NCC representative said.
Speaking, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon Saheed Akinade-Fijabi, explained that his committee had received several petitions from telecommunications service providers, as regards inability of IHS to deliver on their terms to contract.
This according to him was due to the pending directive of the committee.
The Chairman, however, noted that it would be insensitive to further halt the business operations of IHS, after four months.
According to the lawmaker, “This committee in November directed IHS to halt further installation on the facilities in contention, this was in anticipation that the NCC report would be ready and presented to us within three weeks. However, since the report is not ready, IHS can continue its installation, on the condition that if they are indicted by the NCC report, appropriate sanctions will be applied.”