Today, a Task Force of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Central Zone raided and shut down facilities belonging to telecommunication companies in Bayelsa State following unresolved disputes on awards of quick-win contracts.
The task force, which was set up by the IYC zonal Chairman, Kennedy Olorogun, picketed facilities belonging to MTN, GLO, Airtel, 9Mobile and other telecommunication companies across Yenagoa metropolis.
Hundreds of the youths stormed 10 telecom masts and disconnected them, leaving subscribers stranded and the affected companies losing millions of Naira. The youths, who chanted solidarity songs, said they would no longer allow the companies to continue with the practice of awarding their jobs to only non-indigenes especially contracts to supply diesel to their facilities.
The Olorogun-led IYC has been at loggerheads with telecom companies operating in the state following discoveries by the council that the firms engaged only non-indigenes in their jobs and contracts. IYC wrote many letters to the management of the telecom companies 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.
Following lack of responses to all the letters, Olorogun in separate letters issued 14-day ultimatum to the companies to act or risk disruption of their operations in the state. Olorogun said the picketing occurred because the ultimatum expired about three days ago but the companies failed to act to avert the threat.
“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. We 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”.
He warned that the Monday action was a tip of the iceberg adding that massive disconnections would hit the companies if they failed to address their grievances. Shortly after the picketing, communication network failures were recorded in most parts of the capital city as subscribers living in the affected areas could no longer make or receive calls.