Nigeria: Airtel Network Down As Workers Protest Rages

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Airtel Nigeria Workers

Airtel Nigeria Workers

Airtel subscribers in Abuja and some states in the northern part of Nigeria yesterday cried out over their inability to make or receive calls as sacked workers grounded the network of the telecom company.

About 3000 customer care agents of two Airtel Nigeria’s outsourcing firms – Technimandra and Spanco – were sacked after they turned down the Indian companies decision to cut down wages from N75, 000 to N30,000 monthly. The firms however said the agents were only asked to go following the expiration of their contract.

On its part, Airtel said the workers were not sacked but their contract only expired last Friday as they were employed on contract basis, “and it may be renewed”.

The sacked workers and Nigerian labour leaders may have made good their threat to shut down the Airtel network yesterday as its subscribers had difficulty making or receiving calls in Abuja and its environs, Bauchi, Gombe and some other states in the north.

Subscribers in Lagos and states in the South west were not affected. Also, a subscriber of Airtel in Ebonyi told Daily Trust that the network was fine in the state.

The spokesman of the sacked workers, Taiwo Folusho, told Daily Trust that until they were reabsorbed Airtel would continue to feel the pinch of their action on its service.


Also, the president of the National Union of Post and Telecommunication Employee, Sunday Alhassan, said “We have shut down their services in Abuja”, he said.

He said any moment from tomorrow Airtel network in Lagos might be shut down in fulfilment of their earlier vow to ground the company operations in the city.

The spokesman of Airtel, Emmanuel Otokhine, neither answered calls placed to him nor responded to an SMS sent to his line.

But one of the Airtel managers said the inability of Abuja subscribers to make or receive calls was due to a “little work” the company was doing on its network in the FCT, “and not because some staff were asked to go as you claimed. It would soon be over.”

But he could not say when is the problem would be resolved.

Some subscribers who spoke to our reporter in Abuja yesterday said NCC should be penalised Airtel as they were not given any prior notice before the network went dead.

Mrs. Raji Abimbola, an Abuja resident, who said she had been using the network since the days of Econet, lamented that it was a terrible situation in this era if one is not able to make or receive call.

Another subscriber, Mallam Adamu, said “since yesterday, I cannot make call and no one can call me. The network is just blank.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it is not aware that Airtel Nigeria is having problem with its network in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, even as the telecoms operator promised “to resolve the problem soon.”



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