By Omobayo Azeez
Ahead of a possible lockdown of states or Nigeria as a whole in an attempt to curb further spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has requested that their technical staff should enjoy free movement.
The operators specifically directed this request at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator.
ATCON, on Wednesday, requested the commission to initiate the process of National Right of passage for all technical staff of telecommunications companies in the event of foreseeable lockdown by either the Federal Government or the state governments in an attempt to curb the spread of Coronavirus outbreak in the country.
While the umbrella body of telecoms operators in the country urged the NCC to begin action on the demand, it stressed that telecoms services have critical roles to play if the scourge of the deadly disease must be tramped down.
“This request is made because of the essential nature of telecommunications infrastructures in managing the entire situation and the need for maintenance and repairs that may arise during the possible lockdown.
“We count on NCC to expedite action in this regard while we appreciate the commission for being proactive and attentive.
“We also urge all our teeming members and their staff to comply with all the guidelines stipulated by the Federal Ministry of Health and all relevant authorities at state levels,” ATCON stated in a statement signed by Ajibole Olude, its executive secretary.
Indications are rife that Nigeria may soon adopt similar strategy as China, Russia and Italy, where movement has been forbidden as a measure to curtail spread of COVID-19.
Already, the federal government and state governments across the country have taken many restrictive measures to break the cycle of transmission of the disease.
As many confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to come up everyday however, it is believed that many more cases would still be discovered, hence, the imminent shutdown and restriction of movement across the country or some parts of it.