FG to sanction telcos for violating EIA regulations

By The Citizen

The Federal Ministry of Environment has said it will soon commence imposition of sanctions on telecom operators that violated Environmental Impact Assessment regulations in the country.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr Ben Goong, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

The statement said that agreement to sanction telecom operators was reached after the Supervising Minister of the ministry, Mr Darius Ishaku, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson.

'Under the agreement, all telecom operators in violation of the EIA regulation will now pay the specified non-compliance and administrative fees to the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency.

'Similarly, all base stations that predate the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication and Broadcast facilities regulations No. 11 of 2011, which are violation of the Nigerian Communication Commission's Guidelines should be referred to the NCC for appropriate remediation,' it said.

The statement said all base station sites that were in existence prior to the National Environmental Standards for Telecommunication and Broadcast Facilities Regulations No. 11 of 2011 that are in compliance with NCCs would be re-opened.

It said that base stations should be re-opened provided they were not in violation of the EIA Act.

The agreement also provides for the setting up of an inter-ministerial standing committee comprising the two ministries, NESREA, NCC, and charged with the responsibility of handling issues arising from the location of Telecom base stations and related matters in the country.

It said that NESREA was mandated to communicate to NCC the total number of sealed telecom base stations that violated the EIA Act, and copy same to the federal ministries of environment and communications technology.

The statement further said that the two ministers expressed optimism that the MoU will lead to rapid improvement in the development of telecommunication infrastructure in the country.

It said that the MoU will also proffer lasting solutions to the lingering regulation conflict between the two ministries and their agencies.

'The two ministers also believe that the agreement will lead to improved quality delivery to telecom consumers,' it added. NAN