President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the request of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, for the provision of security for telecommunications infrastructure nationwide.
A statement issued by the ministry today in Abuja and signed by the
minister’s spokesperson, Mrs. Uwa Suleiman has revealed.
Operators are to submit a comprehensive list of their facility locations all over the country.
According to the statement: “The Honourable Minister is delighted to inform stakeholders in the telecommunications industry that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved and also directed that necessary physical protective measures be emplaced to safeguard telecommunications infrastructure deployed across the country.
“The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), have been notified of Mr. President’s directive. We are also working towards the reinforcement of these directives through appropriate regulatory instruments. Dr Pantami specially appreciates the security institutions, and commends the commitment they have demonstrated in securing these infrastructures.”
Government wants lower data, voice tariff
In the same vein, government is asking Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to further reduce the price of data and voice calls for citizens in reciprocation so as to allow more citizens get online at affordable rates as COVID 19 bites forcing businesses to depend on web access.
Telecoms as CNI
The Nigerian telecommunications industry depends on a number of infrastructures that play a critical role in the smooth delivery of telecoms services. Telecoms stakeholders have been pushing for the declaration of telecommunications infrastructures as part of the nation’s Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).
While there is a push for an Act of Law to make CNI accommodate telecoms and other ancillary sectors, the new presidential approval offers a much-needed respite against rising cases of vandalization of telecoms equipment across the country even by state entities.
“Telecommunications equipment “are part of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) because of the important role they play, in ensuring security and in the delivery of other essential services.
“The implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) and the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, both unveiled by Mr. President, have repositioned the ICT sector. This is evident by the recent ‘Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product Report’ released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which showed that the ICT sector contributed an unprecedented 14.07% to the total real GDP in the first quarter of 2020,” said Pantami who has championed efforts to identify telecommunications infrastructure as CNI.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a massive migration to digital platforms and has increased the level of importance of Critical National Infrastructure to the sustenance of our economy and the security of the nation.
“We are confident that this will address the challenge of vandalism of our Critical National Infrastructure. It will also go a long way in supporting the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (2020-2025),” Pantami added.