Why IYC shut down telecoms in Bayelsa after 14 days ultimatum

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– Says worse may happen

By Gladys Nweke

Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, central zone  attacked and shutdown a total of 10 telecommunications masts and power plants in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, over what they termed unemployment and diesel supplies contracts.

IYC chairman, Central Zone, Mr Kennedy Olorogun, and his team, who had picketed telecom facilities belonging to MTN, GLO, Airtel and others across Yenagoa, said they would no longer allow the companies to continue awarding their jobs to only non-indigenes especially contracts to supply diesel to their facilities.

Olorogun, in his address, said IYC wrote many letters to the management of all the telecom firms operating in the state on the need to correct the imbalance, insisting that the council would no longer tolerate the companies’ practice of outsourcing diesel supply to only non-indigenes in the state.

At the time, stressed that, following lack of responses to all the letters, the IYC in separate letters issued 14-day ultimatum to the companies to act or risk disruption of their operations in the state. He said the picketing occurred because the ultimatum expired three days before the shutdown took place because the companies failed to act to avert the threat.

He also warned that the shutdown was a tip of the iceberg, adding that massive disconnections and more shutdown would hit the companies if they failed to address their grievances.

He said: “The companies were playing with us. They failed to act. Instead, they wanted to bribe me but I am not the kind of leader that collects bribe. IYC want them to do the right thing. They should address the issues. We are hosting their facilities. They can’t be giving all their jobs to outsiders.”

Olorogun also said one of the letters sent to MTN, the telecoms firm was adequately informed of previous correspondences indicating interest of IYC to be part of some of its empowerment schemes.

 Reading the copy of the letter sent to MTN in part, “The council is aware that it is non-indigenes that are doing all the jobs and supplies in the company.

“The desire of the council to be a partaker in the economic opportunities in your company such as the supply of AGO popularly known as diesel and other basic and fundamental supplies going on in your company are legitimate demands that ought not to be contentious.

“These are embedded in your corporate social responsibility to your host communities and area of operations in line with the Local Content Act 2010. The pecuniary benefits derivable from these economic opportunities would assist the council to organise workshops, trainings and assist indigent members of the council.

“Having discovered that you have elected to treat our request with disdain and your hostile disposition to our peaceful approach is standing as an obstacle towards any meaningful engagement with you.”

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