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First generation masts now weak, can collapse any time—Engineer warns

Telecoms engineer and industry analyst, Mr. Gerald Udofia has warned people either living or working within the radius of first generation masts in parts of the country to begin to keep round the clock surveillance as the telecom masts can collapse any moment.

First generation masts are telecom infrastructure erected within the first and second year of the arrival of GSM in Nigeria in 2001 and 2002.

In a telephone interview, Udofia who resides in Port Harcourt said “Among the masts that are more vulnerable to collapse include those erected on wet and acidic soils where long period of corrosion can weaken the base and only a slight wind can collapse it to a direction of wind”.

“Apart from masts that are ageing on corrosive soils, another set of masts that can collapse any time are those that were built with fake steel from China and other parts of the world.

While hailing the Lagos State Government for evolving an agency in charge of monitoring masts and related structures, Udofia advised other states of the federation to emulate Lagos in order to limit the chances of mast collapse and destroying properties even with lives.

“I have done some jobs for the Lagos State Urban Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (LSUIMA) which controls masts, they are very serious with their job and that is why you hardly experience mast failure rampantly.

“The agency goes round the state evaluating masts and testing their tensile forces to stand and carry loads over time.

Only Tuesday, three people, including a teenage girl and her little brother, died in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital when a telecommunications mast and a signage pole fell at the Mile 3 axis of Port Harcourt.

Reports say the structures collapsed following a torrential rain, claiming the lives of the 16-year-old girl and her little brother while their mother Mrs Eucheria Charles escaped unhurt.