Concerns rise as Kogi govt shuts down MTN facilities


There are concerns over the danger of MTN shutdown by the Kogi State government ahead of the general elections.

The state government on Wednesday shut down the telecoms company’s facilities over allegations of tax evasion by the Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).

KGIRS officials were said to have broken into two hub sites in Lokoja on Wednesday morning to shut down the power generating sets and seal the sites.

At least 107 sites in Kogi, Edo and the Federal Capital Territory have been affected by that action.

MTN has denied that the shutdown was justifiable, especially as it had already made a payment of N10,500,000 on Tuesday in a bid to ensure that the dispute is settled.

Over 70 sites including hub sites across parts of Kogi State have so far been affected by the shutdown and it is feared that it could lead to a total communications blackout in its environs.

Communications experts say that the move pose a threat to the safety and wellbeing of consumers on the network during the elections.

Political analyst, Humphrey Anyim, said the KIRS risk heating up the polity ahead of the decisive election period by its action and that in itself has a bad impact on Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, who has been accused of stifling opposition in the state.

“Users of the network provider could say it was a deliberate attempt by the government to alienate electorates from the information they are sure to crave during the election period,” Mr Anyim said.

Another communications and business expert, Remi Akinyemi, said the shutdown will affect other socio-economic issues involving average citizens like banking, e-commerce and general businesses.

“Bank transactions would also become extremely difficult for the numerous customers who are registered with MTN. The move by the KIRS is not a good look.

“A lot of people want to ensure they round up business transactions before the election weeks arrive. Ultimately, innocent citizens would be on the receiving of this action which could be resolved in a less aggressive manner,” Mr Akinyemi said.