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Thursday, 30 December, 1999, 13:45 GMT
Phones cut for millennium in Nigeria

Operators not felt to be Y2K compliant were cut off


Thousands of Nigerian telephone subscribers served by private companies have been disconnected by the state-owned telephone giant, Nitel.

A spokesman for Nitel said the action was needed to protect the integrity of the national network during the change to the year 2000 and avoid disruption to services.

Into 2000
But the private operators say this is nonsense: one official of a private telephone company said the private sector had long since demonstrated its ability to cope with the changeover.

The government yesterday authorised Nitel to cut off any operators it felt were not Y2K compliant.

Although the private networks account for only 20,000 of the country's 500,000 telephone lines, the government has announced plans to privatise the state sector.

Bank worries

Fears of computer failures when the new year arrives have also led to huge cash withdrawals from banks in Nigeria.


Nigerians have been withdrawing their money from the banks
A bank customer in Lagos said he was closing his account to avoid problems associated with the negative effects of the "millennium time bomb".

And banks have been complaining of the huge numbers of withdrawals.

"Over 90% of the banks are Y2K compliant. So I don't understand why people are unecessarily apprehensive," said Nigerian banker Sunday Odutola.

On Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Pauline Tallen urged customers to visit their banks and get account statements as security in case of any millennium bug problems.

She said the step became necessary because the Central Bank of Nigeria had not released a list of Y2K compliant banks.

The Nigerian authorities have also announced that no domestic flights will be allowed on 31 December and 1 January.

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See also:
29 Dec 99 |  Africa
Ethiopia: Partying like it's 1992
24 Dec 99 |  Africa
Botswana not bugged by Y2K

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