July 9, 2012 – Lagos Begins Demolition of Illegal Masts
The Lagos State Government has begun the demolition of weak and unauthorized masts in the state.
The Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit, UFRU, a new agency established by the state government to regulate the activities of telecoms operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the area of masts and towers installations is in charge of the operation which it began by demolishing a mast last week.
During the exercise, a near-completed base station belonging to one of the GSM operators was pulled down on Ago Palace Way, in Okota, a suburb of Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
General Manager of UFRU, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said a “stop work” order was given to the GSM operator to stop construction at the early stage of work, until there was approval for such construction, but the operator flagrantly ignored the authority of Lagos government and continued with the erection, until it was near-completion.
“We noticed that a particular GSM operator was building a base station without approval, after government notice that it was illegal to build base stations and towers in Lagos without permit from the UFRU.
“For violating the law of the state, it became necessary that we pull down the base station because we are not sure of its strength and its environmental impact assessment,” Igbokwe said.
According to Igbokwe, “it is the duty of UFRU to regulate telecoms masts and towers in the state, ensure that the location of the base station is in order, and as well supervise the kind of materials that will be used for the erection of masts and towers in the state.”
The essence of the regulation, he said, was to avert cases of collapsed masts and towers in the state. He gave instances where collapsed masts and towers have destroyed buildings, cars and personal effects of people whose offices and homes were close to masts and base stations, saying that collapsed masts had taken lives of innocent people in the past, and leaving some in critical health conditions in the past.
“We cannot fold our hands, sit back and watch innocent citizens and the mass of our people being injured or even die as a result of indiscriminate and unguided operations of service providers and their proxies. That is why we cannot continue to do business as usual at the expense of public health,” he said.