Bombings: MTN, others to seek compensation from FG

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Mobile network operators have  concluded plans to seek compensation from the Federal Government for losses incurred from terrorist attacks on their installations.

The Executive Secretary, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Gbolahan Awonuga, confirmed to our correspondent on Tuesday that MTN, Globacom, Airtel, Etisalat, and the CDMA operators had concluded plans to seek  compensation from the Federal Government.

He said, “We are still getting information from the operators. We will send letters to the Ministry of Communications Technology, Nigerian Communications Commission as well as Nigerian Trade and Investment Commission. I don’t think anybody will expect operators to bear the loss alone.”

Two suicide car bombers, on Saturday, attacked the offices of Airtel and MTN in Kano, killing themselves but no other victims.

Islamist sect, Boko Haram, had previously blown up telephone masts and offices of phone companies, saying they helped the security forces to arrest  members of the group.

“The one who hit the Airtel office was shot by military men before the bomb exploded … at the MTN office the car rammed into the fence but no civilians were killed,”   Kano State Police Commisioner, Ibrahim Idris, told Reuters.

The National Emergency Management  Agency confirmed the bombings and said it was not aware of any civilian casualties.

Also, telecoms services were on Wednesday, September 16, disrupted in Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe and Kano states, following the bombing of  base stations by  terrorists.

Experts, who described the attacks as detrimental to telecoms growth in the country, said they were suggestive of wilful damage by unscrupulous elements.

As a result, the quality of service in the affected states took a downturn as interconnection of telecoms infrastructure became severely limited.

ALTON Chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, had said, “We have received reports about some telecoms sites being destroyed by some agents in some parts of northern Nigeria. The details are not clear yet, but we have been told that a number of operators’ sites were affected and they appear, from first view, as wilful damage to those infrastructure.”

The Corporate Services Executive, MTN, Mr. Akinwale Goodluck, who equally confirmed the attacks, said, “It is true because we received reports that telecommunications towers of major telecoms operators was being bombed. However, I cannot tell you, for now, how many of our base stations or other telecoms infrastructure were affected because information available to us is still scanty.”

Goodluck, however, said that security agencies had commenced investigation into the attacks and the extent of damage, adding that the result would be made available for accurate reporting.

Speaking in the same vein, the General Manager, Corporate Communications, MTN, Mrs. Funmilayo Omogbenigun, who earlier confirmed the situation to Reuters, said, “We confirm that like all the other major telcos, some MTN installations in northern Nigeria have been damaged by unknown persons. All the relevant government security agencies have been informed and we are receiving their full cooperation.”

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