ERICSSON Nigeria has admitted that a contract employee working with it was actually responsible for the Radio Biafra transmitter installed on an MTN mast in Enugu, South East Nigeria.
In a statement signed by its Managing Director, Johan Jemdahl, the firm said it had confiscated the transmitter and had notified the authorities. The Swedish firm, which said it viewed the incident in an extremely serious light, disclosed that the contractor had been discharged of its responsibilities with the firm and taken into police custody.
The statement reads: “Illegal FM transmitting equipment was discovered connected to an outsourced MTN mast, managed by Ericsson, in Enugu in Eastern Nigeria. The equipment was immediately confiscated and the authorities were notified. A contractor to Ericsson has subsequently been taken into police custody after his involvement was discovered. He has been discharged from his contracted responsibilities with Ericsson.
Ericsson views this incident in an extremely serious light. It is the result of a violation of its process that permits access to its mast sites. As a result, Ericsson has initiated immediate action to foil any similar attempts. All mast sites in Enugu and Port Harcourt regions have been audited while FM scanning was conducted. Critical attention was given to all high masts and sites located in mountainous areas, i.e. locations attractive for illegal activities. In addition, the Site Access Process will be reviewed for all employees and third parties.
“We sincerely regret the unfortunate incident, which violates our code of business ethics and code of conduct, contracted responsibilities as well as our company’s values.”
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An MTN source had disclosed that the engineer, David Nwawuisi, “was able to install the transmitters because he worked with Ericsson Nigeria Limited, one of the companies to which the telecommunications firm outsources the maintenance of its base stations.”
MTN owns 12,000 base stations across the country, and Huawei, a Chinese networking and manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, is the other company that is responsible for the maintenance of these base stations.
However, Nwawuisi, who is currently standing trial with the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, is a field maintenance engineer with the Swedish technology company.
The MTN source, who did not wish to be mentioned, said Nwawuisi’s role was to grant access to IPOB engineers to mount the transmitters on MTN’s masts under his care. “The transmitters, which were used in boosting the signals of Radio Biafra allegedly transmitted from London, the United Kingdom, were discovered by the security agencies on MTN masts in Enugu and Anambra states,” one of the sources said. According to him, the second suspect, Benjamin Madubugwu, helped with the installation of the transmitters in Anambra State, also in concert with IPOB engineers.
Both men were contacted by Chidibere Onwudiwe, a suspected IPOB member, for the job, according to court papers filed by the Federal Government.