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Service disruptions could occur around border towns if the ban on fuel supplies is sustained, telcos warn

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OPERATORS of telecoms industry in Nigeria have warned of a possible disruption of communications arising from restraints placed on trucks supplying diesel to transceiver base stations around the border regions to further consolidate the closure of the country’s borders according to a report by The Punch.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had during the week announced plans to suspend petroleum products supply to filling stations within 20 kilometres of the border in a bid to forestall smuggling.

However, members of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), warned that hub sites in Calabar area, Cross River State would be shut down due to lack of diesel.

Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the group and the Head of Operations, Gbolahan Awonuga, made this known in a letter to the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission, Umar Danbatta.

They also said the directive of the NCS on the movement of petroleum products around the border area would affect telecommunications service across the affected areas.

“Following the directives by the Nigeria Customs Service in a circular dated Wednesday, November 6, 2019, directing all customs zonal coordinators not to allow petroleum product to be delivered to any filling stations within 20 kilometres radius of any border area in Nigeria.

“The directive is already having a huge negative impact on our members’ operations and this may be significant if the necessary agencies of government do not urgently intervene in the situation,” a section of the letter reads.

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The Association also  noted that the Nigeria Customs Service had already stopped the trucks of its members in Kebbi, Kano and Calabar from supplying diesel to the telecommunications sites within the borders areas.

It called for an immediate intervention of the NCC and the Federal Government as major hub sites might be affected.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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