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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria have been directed by the Senate to remove their telecommunications masts erected in a residential area in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja to another location.

The order was given at the plenary on Wednesday following the recommendations of the Joint Senate Committees on Communications and Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions led by Mrs Oluremi Tinubu and Mr Ayo Akinyelure.

How the matter started

One Mr Bashir Abdullahi and five others filed a petition against MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria to the upper chamber of the National Assembly, alleging that the masts erected by the two organisations on Number 20, Oke-Agbe Street, Garki, Abuja, were making unbearable noise and causing residents of the area a discomfort.

The Senate asked the joint team to look into the matter and yesterday, Mrs Tinubu laid and presented the report for consideration by the lawmakers.

Details of the Senate report

While presenting the report, she said for the protection of citizens of the country living in the vicinity, it was necessary for the companies to relocate the facilities to a safer place, agreeing that the present location of the masts was causing discomfort to the residents.

The former First Lady of Lagos State said after careful look into the petition, “The committee recommends that the safety of human lives should be of primary consideration and cannot be compromised.

“The mast at No 20, Oke-Agbe Street, Garki, Abuja, should be removed and be relocated to a safer and more environmentally friendly site.

“I move that the Senate do approve the recommendations of the joint committees,” the lawmaker representing Lagos Central Senatorial District and a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said.

In his contribution, Mr Barau Jibrin agreed with the report, stressing that the lives of Nigerians must be protected as it was one of the major responsibilities of the government.

“Mr President, permit me to commend the joint committees on communications, Ethics, privileges and public petitions for a job well done.

“We need to protect our citizens from the operators of these telecommunications mast. These masts are everywhere not only in Abuja and it is not good for our people.

“It should be a wakeup call to stop what they are doing. I urge my colleagues to lend their voices to the recommendations of this committee,” the Senator submitted.

Before the Senate approved the recommendations of the joint committees, Mr Adamu Aliero, the lawmaker representing Kebbi Central Senatorial District, praised the “committee for a job well done and this should be extended to mast erected in residential areas. I support the recommendations of the committee and we should do all we can to protect the health of our citizens.”

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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