Os­in­bajo Re­opens Talks with State Gover­nors on Right of Way


Fol­low­ing dis­cus­sions be­tween the Nige­rian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (NCC) and the state gover­nors about the is­sue on Right of Way (RoW) that is yet to yield any mean­ing­ful re­sult, the Vice Pres­i­dent, Prof. Yemi Os­in­bajo has de­cided to re­visit the is­sue in or­der to put a last­ing so­lu­tion to it.

Os­in­bajo, it was gath­ered, re­cently met with the state gover­nors to dis­cuss the chal­lenges about the de­lay in state gov­ern­ment’s ap­proval on RoW.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Chair­man of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Dan­abatta, who made the dis­clo­sure dur­ing the visit of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Tele­coms Com­pa­nies of Nige­ria (ATCON) to NCC in Abuja re­cently, said the dis­cus­sion be­tween Os­in­bajo and the state gover­nors was suc­cess­ful. He said the key area of con­tention had been ad­dressed and that tele­coms op­er­a­tors would soon em­bark on mas­sive roll­out of metropoli­tan fi­bre op­tic broad­band ca­bles within cities, to boost broad­band pen­e­tra­tion.

Be­fore now, most state gov­ern­ments had de­nied tele­coms op­er­a­tors the ap­proval on RoW that will en­able them dig up the earth to lay broad­band ca­bles.

The re­fusal to ap­prove RoW in some states and the de­lay in ap­proval in some other states, had made tele­coms op­er­a­tors to sus­pend work on net­work roll­out and ex­pan­sion, which im­pacted neg­a­tively on tele­coms growth.

The bone of con­tention was that aside the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s reg­u­la­tion of the tele­coms sec­tor, through the NCC, the state gov­ern­ments said they also have the right to reg­u­late tele­coms ac­tiv­i­ties in their var­i­ous states, thus im­pos­ing levies on op­er­a­tors be­fore ap­proval is given to them on RoW.

The tele­coms op­er­a­tors saw the state reg­u­la­tion as du­pli­ca­tion of gov­ern­ment roles, and an av­enue of ex­tor­tion, since they are com­pelled to pay the same levy to state gov­ern­ments af­ter pay­ing such levy to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, amount­ing to pay­ment of mul­ti­ple levies in a coun­try where the rev­enue of op­er­a­tors is de­plet­ing fast by the day, ow­ing to sev­eral vari­ables.

Dan­batta who briefed the ATCON ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers, led by their pres­i­dent, Mr. Olu­sola Te­niola, on the out­come of the meet­ing be­tween Os­in­bajo and the state gover­nors, said the state gover­nors agreed to ap­prove RoW for tele­coms op­er­a­tors, with­out fur­ther de­lay and that four tele­coms op­er­a­tors who were li­censed as In­fra­struc­ture Com­pa­nies (In­fraCos) by the NCC to pro­vide broad­band in­fra­struc­ture in dif­fer­ent re­gions of the coun­try, have been granted state ap­proval to lay fi­bre op­tic ca­bles for broad­band roll­out.

“It ap­pears there is a so­lu­tion in sight on RoW as Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo had a meet­ing with Nige­ria Gover­nors Fo­rum and he used the op­por­tu­nity to make a pre­sen­ta­tion to them in re­spect of Right of Way and the gover­nors ap­peared to buy into the ini­tia­tive of lay­ing fi­bre, which will cover up to 18000 km in Nige­ria and the ini­tia­tive will be solely driven by the Vice Pres­i­dent and with this ini­tia­tive, so­lu­tions shall be prof­fered to the chal­lenges caused by Right of Ways and the 30 per cent broad­band pen­e­tra­tion set tar­get will soon be met and sur­passed,” Dan­batta told Te­niola and his vis­it­ing team.

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