The Enugu State House of Assembly Committee on Petroleum and Environmental Matters says it will take all legal means to recover fees owed the state by telecommunication firms. The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Obinna Okenwa made this known during a meeting with officials of a telecommunication mast servicing Company. There have been series of meetings between telecommunication agencies and the committee over alleged evasion of fees.
The discussion took a different dimension as one of the telecommunication servicing companies, IHS Limited also threatened a legal action against the state claiming that what the government requested for was within the exclusive list of the constitution. The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Okenwa took time to cite legal authorities and judicial pronouncements on the powers of the State Government to receive payment as it affects environmental issues.
Mr. Okenwa alleged that the petition by the IHS Limited against the committee was a mere attempt to cause distraction and vowed to use every legal means to seal theTelecommunication base stations across the State.
“In furtherance of the above, it is therefore pertinent to determine whether or not the subject of environment is contained in the exclusive list. This one is expected to simply go through the list of the schedule in 1999 Constitution”
The Regional Legal Officer of HIS Limited, Mr. Tonye Braide claimed that ₦25,000.00 assessment fee per mast was illegal but advocated resolution in the impasse.
“I humbly beg to disagree Sir”
An Environmental Consultant to the State Ministry of Environment, Mr. Uchenna Ani, in his submission described claims by IHS Official as frivolous and breach of various environmental regulations.
“There are many taxes and levies the telecommunication industries are paying Federal and State Governments that are not contained in the act.”
The Committee urged the HIS Limited and another telecommunication servicing firm, DISWAL to challenge its position in law court or pay the fees without delay as failure to do so would attract sanction.