By Abdallah el-Kurebe
Residents of Minanata Community in Sokoto South local of Sokoto state have appealed to the state government to ensure that, Biswal Nigeria Ltd., a telecom firm stops erection of a mast in the area.
Alhaji Bala Suleiman, Secretary of Nakasarin Magaji Peoples’ Progressive Union made the plea on Tuesday while addressing news men in Sokoto.
According to him, “We are (concerned) due to radiation from the mast,” Suleiman said adding, “We are also apprehensive that the mast which is being erected right in the midst of a crowded residential area may one day collapse and kill people as well as destroy property.”
He added that the residents had complained to the state government, (through) Gagi District Head’s Office.
“We want the state government to completely stop the project for reason of health concern raised by the people,” he said.
Mr. Ahmed Ahijo, a spokesman of the firm in his reaction said that the company bought the property from its owner, Alhaji Nasiru Hubbare at N4 million.
“We have done the Technical site survey while the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will soon be completed, and we have already stopped work. The 2013 Nigeria Communications Act stipulates that a mast can be erected anywhere in Nigeria after approval by the regulatory agencies.
“This had been done in this direction as the NCC gave us an approval and the erection of a base-station has no parameter in terms of building sites in as much as a firm has complied with the regulations,” Ahijo stressed.
The state Environment Commissioner, Dr. Jabbi Kilgori confirmed that the state government had issued a stop order on the erection of the mast in the area.
“We have no mandate to completely stop the erection of such masts as it falls within the purview of the powers of the federal government. But the suspension order of the project still subsists pending the conclusion of the EIA and the initiated dialogue between the Minanata community and the firm,” Kilgori said.
He also stressed that the state government was working to resolve the matter in manner that would be fair to all parties.