Following Monday’s picketing incidents of MTN Nigeria’s offices in Lagos, Bayelsa, Enugu, Bauchi and Kano States, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it is now working in collaboration with Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to protect the telco’s equipment/installations.

The telecoms regulatory agency conveyed this development through a press statement issued yesterday in Abuja. According to the statement, the move by the NCC became necessary after the picketing incidents resulted in the destruction of MTN Nigeria’s infrastructure.

“In the wake of the labour dispute between MTN, one of our major licensees, and labour, and the protests that have resulted in the vandalism of telecom infrastructure, the NCC on Monday night activated the Memorandum of Understanding with the NSCDC to protect the switch stations and Base Transceiver Stations belonging to MTN and other telecom operators.

“The commission had contacted ACG Iyogho of the NSCDC on the matter and directed MTN to liaise with the NSCDC on the issue of the picketing by the NLC and the reported destruction of telecom infrastructure across the country.” -NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) also stated in the press release that other security agencies have been briefed on the situation, especially the implications of efforts being made by the protesters to shut down the Ojota Switch Station in Lagos. One of these implications is the potential collapse of the telecommunications grid.

The NCC is also working in partnership with the leadership of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria and the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria towards ensuring an amicable resolution of the impasse.

As we reported, members of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) were on Monday led by their national president, Ayuba Wabba on a picketing mission to the offices of MTN Nigeria Limited in different location across the country. This followed reports of alleged anti-labour practices on the part of the telco.

Specifically, the NLC accused the telecommunications company of regularly renewing employees’ contracts with the intent of shying away from paying gratuity and pension to them. The company also allegedly sacks employees at will.

All of these and more prompted the protests, even as a top executive at the NLC was quoted as saying that “We need to tell them that they need to respect the laws of the country; they need to also respect our own labour laws, but most importantly, they must respect human and trade union rights.”

Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria has since dispelled all the allegations, while calling the attacks on its facilities “needless destruction and deeply saddening.”

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