By Aisar Fagge
A Kano-based civil society, Kano Advocacy Organization (“Kungiyar Matasan Kano“) wrote a petition to the Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), Kano State against the telecommunication companies operating in the state for abandoning their corporate social responsibility functions which they execute in the Southern part of the country.
The chairman of the organization, Comrade Alhassan Haruna Dambatta led the executive members of the organization from various local governments to the Anti-Corruption Commission where they dropped their six-page letter signed by their national legal adviser, Barrister Murtala Bala Abubakar Esq.
The reason for taking this action according to Barrister Murtala is “to ensure the telecommunication companies abide by laws on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as provided by various subsisting Acts passed by both the National Assembly and the Kano state House of Assembly.
They cited the Federal Government’s Local Content Act 2010 sponsored by Hon. Dr Abubarkar Amuda-Kannike and “An Act to establish the Corporate Social Responsibility Act and for other matters connected herewith’ sponsored by Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, which states that Corporate Social Responsibility means action taken by a company to address key social, economic and environmental problems of a particular area in which the company operates.
The Corporate Social Responsibility Act, in section 21, has identified the activities expected of these companies to engage in and not limited to;
(i) Contribution towards educational development of the people in the area, (ii) Provisions of infrastructural facilities, contribution towards rural electrification projects and road construction,
(iii) Collaboration in partnership projects with local governments,
(iv) Environmental stewardship and protection mechanism,
(v) Construction and improvement of healthcare delivery system.
(vi) Provisions of pipe-borne water, improvement of existing waterworks and construction of boreholes and public convenience.
Furthermore, the Kano State CSR law on Corporate Social Responsibility of 2011 has repeatedly exposed the need for multinationals and other companies operating in Kano state to uphold the provisions of the law as defined by both Acts of the National Assembly and the Kano state House of Assembly on Corporate Social Responsibilities.
According to Kano Advocacy Organization, “Many if not all of these companies [MTN, Airtel, 9Mobile] operating in the Southern and Western part of this country do provides these services to the people of that area, but the case is entirely in contrast to what is available and obtainable here in our state. Last year, the Ijaw Youths Council as reported in the mainstream media, among other campaigns, violently went and demobilized Ten (10) of the telecom’s mast in Bayelsa state and their reason as stated is that the contract for the supply of diesel was awarded to a non-Ijaw contractor, hence, the reason for their anger.”
“Because of the fear of threat of violence from these Southern and Western Youths, These companies operating there ensured that the Youths of the South-south, Southeast, and Southwest are assisted through Youths Empowerment programs, start-ups, vocational trainings, Hub creation, ICT Training, Digital marketing training, App development training, Computer trainings and many other concepts that are designed to empower and promotes the Youths and people of those states so that they can become productive and self-reliant. However, the case in the Northern part is entirely in contrast to what is obtainable in the Western or Southern part of this country and most especially and specifically in Kano state with the highest population of phone users where these telecommunication companies are making billions of naira without commitments to the provisions of the various laws that protected the right of the people and communities where they conduct their businesses.”
In view of the above, Kano Advocacy Organization calls for Kano State PCACC to investigate the following among others:
- What are the records of MTN NIGERIA, AIRTEL, GLOBACOM, 9MOBILE in the provisions of social Amenities, like, building and refurbishing of schools, recreational centres, health care facilitates, Youths Empowerment programs among others in Kano state?
- Record of Youths Empowerment programs conducted by these Telecoms in Kano state.
- How much profit they made in our state and what part of it has been utilized on the people as provided by both CSR laws?
- How many schools and health care facilities were refurbished or built from scratch by these Telecoms in Kano state?
- How many youths in Kano state benefited from these Telecom’s scholarship programs widely celebrated in the Southern and Western parts of this country?
- Record of permanent and pensionable employment of Kano indigenes by these Telecoms.
- When and how did these TELECOMS partner with the Kano state government in the provisions of social Amenities in our state?
- Find out what are the future plans and programs of these telecommunication companies operating in our state on community development, provisions of social Amenities, scholarship, etc.?
- Provide evidence of the established and constituted Corporate Social Responsibility ‘policy committee’ referred in the act as ‘CSR Policy committee’.
- A copy of their CSR performance report of the last five years as made under sections (3) and (9) of the Act.
- Record of the unspent amount deducted for CSR in the last five years.