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IXPN: States in Nigeria ‘breaching right-of-way agreement’

IXPN: States in Nigeria ‘breaching right-of-way agreement’
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State Governors  are breaching Right-of-Way agreements signed between Federal Government and Nigeria Governors Forum, Muhammed Rudman CEO Internet eXchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) said Monday in Abuja.

The Federal Ministry of Communications Technology (now renamed Federal Ministry of Communications) under immediate past minister, Dr  Omobola Johnson, facilitated the agreement following incessant complaints from telecoms operators about uneven treatments they were receiving from different state governments and host communities across Nigeria.

Technology Times file photo shows Dr Omobola Johnson while she was Minister of Communication Technology of Nigeria. She would have been unimpressed with the alleged breach of right-of-way agreement by State Governors in the country
Technology Times file photo shows Dr Omobola Johnson while she was Minister of Communication Technology of Nigeria. She would have been unimpressed with the alleged breach of right-of-way agreement by State Governors in the country

The agreement spells out modalities and fees to be paid by telecommunications operators intent on laying cables through the highways, state and local roads.

The CEO IXPN says  review of the agreement  has now become pertinent following the present controversy surrounding its acceptance, implementation and adherence to the letters of the covenant entered into by state governments in Nigeria.

Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa (keft) and Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology, display the MoU signed to select Bayelsa as one of the Smart States in Nigeria
File photo shows Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa (left) and Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology at the time, display the MoU signed to select Bayelsa as one of the Smart States in Nigeria

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]“There have been cases of Right-of-Way whereby operators have to deal with this at different levels, from the local council to the state level. Despite the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the former Communications Minister with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to address these challenges, the deal is not respected”, the IXPN CEO told the technology forum.[/quote]This issue came under spotlight when the  IXPN CEO was making his presentation on Internet Infrastructure: What the traffic rides on at the Nigerian Network Operators’ Group (ngNOG) conference which opened Monday in Abuja, the nation’s capital city and seat of power.

“There have been cases of Right-of-Way whereby operators have to deal with this at different levels, from the local council to the state level. Despite the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the former Communications Minister with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to address these challenges, the deal is not respected”, the IXPN CEO told the technology forum.

”I was with the team that went around with the former Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson, to some of the states to waive this bill but unfortunately it never happened up until now”, Rudman, the IXPN CEO, told the forum while expressing concerns about infrastructure challenges impeding the growth of the Nigerian telecoms sector.

Mr Muhammed Rudman, CEO IXPN making his presentation at the event
Mr Muhammed Rudman, CEO IXPN making his presentation at the event

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]”We have a tendency in Nigeria that we go after solution as they are marketed instead of whats the needs are and this has affected our development.We have an organisation licensed to be a second national carrier to provide connectivity till date that operator has not made a single fixed connectivity whether DSL, cable or fibre”, Folayan, President of NIRA told attendees at the ngNOG 2016.[/quote]Rudman said it was regrettable that instead of sticking with the agreement that aimed at increasing broadband penetration across the country, many state governments have abandoned it.

Broadband services are anchored on availability of bandwidth and with excess capacity of it at the shores of Nigeria, investment need to be encouraged to distribute this capacity to various geographical areas of the country for broadband revolution to be experienced as is the case with voice service, Rudman further explained.

He attributed several poor quality of service issues in the telecommunications industry to the failure of the state governments to abide by the agreement including factors like high cost of fibre, among several other issues.

But Engr Abbas Babagana  a delegate from the Ministry of Communication who spoke with Technology Times on the sidelines of the ngNOG 2016 event pledged that Adebayo Shittu, the current Minister of communication will find a lasting solution to the challenge.

According to the Ministry of Communications official, broadband penetration would be hampered if operators were denied access to install telecommunications infrastructure.

According to him, ”the honorable Minister is coming up with ICT roadmap 2016- 2019 and the issue of right of way challenges is one of the key things the road map is trying to resolve.”

Cross section of participants at the event
Cross section of participants at the ngNOG 2016 event

He added that, “government, will build on ICT sector growth by improving infrastructure and quality of service, using SMART government to deliver ICT, broadband penetration and national security while migrating Nigeria to a digitally native country through continuous capacity and ICT skills building.”

In his submission, Reverend Sunday Folayan, President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association(NIRA) says policies in Nigeria has to be implemented to spur economic growth.

Rev Sunday Folayan (L) pictured with Dr Wale Adedokun , National coordinator of ngNOG
Rev Sunday Folayan (left) pictured with Dr Wale Adedokun, National Co-Ordinator of ngNOG

”We have a tendency in Nigeria that we go after solution as they are marketed instead of whats the needs are and this has affected our development.We have an organisation licensed to be a second national carrier to provide connectivity till date that operator has not made a single fixed connectivity whether DSL, cable or fibre”, Folayan, President of NIRA told attendees at the ngNOG 2016.

The NIRA president says ”Every operator rushed into spectrum because they saw that it was the way to go and at the end of the day all the spectrum were bought and we still didn’t have good service.”

He adds that, ”for us to progress we need to make look at infrastructure as a holistic thing which is made up of three things which are  have the human factor, cable and policy.”

Kolade Akinola Technology Journalist at Technology Times Mobile: + 234 (0) 807 401 6027

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