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Pantami frowns on Ganduje, 13 other govs for raising tariff on telecoms infrastructure

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Nasiru Yusuf

The federal government has expressed dismay over the decision of some states to increase the ‘Right of Way’ charges in disregard of the resolutions reached by the National Economic Council (NEC).

Kano Focus reports that 14 states including Kano, Lagos, Anambra, Ondo, Cross River, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Kebbi and Gombe, have hiked the cost of Right of Way (RoW) for telecoms infrastructure.

Although, the cost of RoW on federal roads is N142 per linear metre, many states have increased the cost of RoW from the initial fee of between N300 to N500 per linear metre to between N3,000 and N6,000 per linear metre.

This newspaper understands that one of the agencies responsible for the increase in the RoW charges is the Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA).

The implications

Telecoms operators across networks had blamed the poor telecoms service currently being experienced by subscribers on the refusal of state government agencies to grant the operators the RoW licence to lay more fibre optic cables in cities.

Telecoms subscribers have continued to face networks challenges, ranging from incessant drop calls and poor connectivity, to delays in delivering text messages, among others.

A statement issued by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami on Tuesday called on state governors, especially those that have made public their decisions to increase the RoW charges, to reconsider these decisions in the interest of Nigerians as well as for the socio-economic growth and development of the country.

Mr Pantami noted that, these decisions, if implemented, will result in an increase in the costs of operations of the telecoms operators which will naturally be passed to the consumers.

The minister recalled that in 2013, National Economic Council (NEC) set up a committee comprising state governors and ministers to review the issues of multiple taxation in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria and its impact.

He said the Committee, after extensive and wide-ranging consultations, resolved to harmonize the taxes applicable to broadband-related activities and streamline the taxation management processes across the federation, specifically, to deepen broadband penetration for the social and economic development of the Country.

The committee according to the minister agreed to the uniform Right of Way (RoW) charge of N145.00 per linear meter of fibre.

Mr Pantami recalled that in October 2019, the ministry had written all the state governors, drawing their attention to these resolutions and soliciting their support and collaboration towards the realisation of the National Digital Economy by fast-tracking the deployment of broadband infrastructure for the provision of affordable internet services to under-served and un-served areas.

“It is true that the digital economy today is strategically dominating the world economy. Oxford Economics puts the current value of the digital economy at $11.5 trillion which is about 16% of the world economy.

“Furthermore, the World Economic Forum revealed that 60% of the global economy is expected to be digitised by 2022. With the renaming of the Federal Ministry of Communications to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy as well as the unveiling of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy by Mr President, we are on the path of realising the potentials of the digital economy.

“It is, however, disheartening to hear that some States have decided to disregard these resolutions and have, in some cases, increased the RoW charges by over 1,200%. This will no doubt impact negatively on the efforts being made by the Federal Government. It is established that there is a strong correlation between a country’s broadband penetration and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). An ITU study on Africa indicates that a 10% broadband penetration would result in an increase of 2.5% of GDP per capita,” the minister lamented.

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TCN creates Kano transmission region

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Nasiru Yusuf

THE Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has carved out a new Kano transmission region from the old Kaduna Region. 

KANO FOCUS reports that the newly established unit brings the number of TCN regional centres to 10.

The TCN believes the step will improve commercial activities in the state.

A statement issued by TCN General manager of Public Affairs Ndidi Mbah explained that the creation of the Kano Transmission Region became necessary owing to the rapid economic and industrial development being witnessed within Kano State and its environs, as well as the gradual implementation of TCN’s strategic ‘Nigerian Electricity Grid Maintenance, Expansion and Rehabilitation Programme (NEGMERP),’ which has enabled the transmission company to complete some ongoing projects and increase the number of substations within that axis.

He said the  Kano Transmission Region had, under its supervision, one sub-regional office and several work centers, all housing 13 transmission substations (TS), including the Kumbotso TS, Dan Agundi TS, Dakata TS, Tamburawa TS, Kwanar Dangora TS, Wudil TS, Kankia TS, Katsina TS, Daura TS, Dutse TS, Hadejia TS, Azare TS, and Gagarawa TS.

The new Kano region currently according to the statement has ongoing transmission substation projects which when completed would further increase bulk transmission capacity in the new region.

The new Kano Transmission Region, the company said, would deepen operational efficiency within the region and enable its engineers to readily access and resolve technical issues within the new region.

Mbah explained that prior to the creation of the new Kano Region, major decisions had to be referred to Kaduna Region for directives, and the supply of materials was sometimes delayed due to logistic issues from Kaduna.

Mbah noted that the proximity of the new region would radically reduce downtime and eliminate time lost when materials had to be conveyed from the Kaduna Region.

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DSS arrests singer accuse of blasphemy

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Department of State Services have arrested another blasphemous singer, Ahmad Abdul, whose song was perceived to create chaos in Kano state.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Singer Ahmad Abdul was detained by the DSS because his free movement may likely cause violence reaction from Kano residents.

While in detention, Mr Abdul tender apology to entire Muslims, Kano state government and Islamic Scholars.

He told DSS operatives that he never thought that the song has violated Islamic teachings.

Commenting while witnessing the bail condition granted to Mr Abdul at the DSS Headquarters, Kano, the Executive Secretary of the Kano state Censorship Board Ismaila Naaba Afakallah recalled that he had received hundreds of petitions against the song from concerned citizens.

Afakallah said having realized the gravity of the song’s blasphemy, he reported the singer to DSS who swung into action and arrested him at a Hotel where he was hiding for days.

Mr Abdul Father, Abdullahi Isa thanked the DSS for their timely response on the matter which saved possible outbreak of law and order.

Also in August last year, An upper Sharia court in the Hausawa Filin Hockey area of the state has found one Yahaya Sharif-Aminu guilty of committing blasphemy for a song he circulated via WhatsApp.

However, the appellate division of the High Court of Kano State had on January 21 quashed the death sentence passed on Mr Sharif-Aminu and freed him.

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I’ll not run for President – Muhammadu Sanusi II

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Deposed Emir Sanusi

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The deposed Emir of Kano Malam Muhammadu Sunusi II says he is not interested in contesting for the presidency of Nigeria.

Kano Focus reports that Mr Sunusi revealed this at a Tijjnaniyya zikir held in Abuja on Thursday.

Muhammadu Sanusi said his current position as Tijjaniyya Khalifa in Nigeria is superior to the presidency.

The deposed Emir however said he is ready to help those he believe in their competence to win elections without his participation in politics.

“If we trust a candidate is out to serve the people, we will come out and help them.

“That is not joining politics but a civic duty to the nation and its citizens” Mr. Sanusi said.

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