NIGERIAN Communications Commission (NCC) has moved to mobilize Nigerians to help protect telecommunications infrastructure against vandalism.
Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman of NCC appealed to Nigerians during a “Road Show Against Vandalism of Telecom Infrastructure” in Lagos to protect the infrastructure considered the heart of telecommunications.
Danbatta who was represented by Mr Tony Ojobo, director, Public Affairs of NCC, reiterated need for Nigerians to collectively stop vandalism of telecoms infrastructure so as to save the industry from possible collapse.
According to him, telecoms infrastructure has democratised the ability of citizens to communicate with one another.
“Most of us now shop online because of the advancement that we have attained with the telecoms industry.
“Some of us book hotels, buy air tickets and even check traffic situations on our telephones.
“We share and exchange information, send photos, videos, text messages to our friends, families and social friends,” he said.
“We are all aware that the telecoms industry is one of the biggest dividends of our democracy in Nigeria.
“The telecoms industry has also provided this nation with the opportunity to sell herself creditably among the committee of nations.
“Today, we are ranked among the fastest growing telecoms country in the world.’’
Danbatta said that the industry was a major contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and had pushed up the economic growth and complimenting government’s efforts towards diversification of the economy from oil.
He added that thousands of citizens were directly employed by the telecoms industry and earning income as a result of the level of development in the industry.
According to him, the benefits and the useful services being enjoyed from the industry are now threatened by the spate of vandalism of the infrastructure across the country.
He said that the commission was worried that vandalism of the infrastructure was slowing the pace of growth, and contributing to poor quality of services.
“Vandalism of infrastructure comes in several ways. Some vandals cut or destroy cables that provide services across geopolitical distances or communities.
“Some engage in destruction of facilities at mobile telephone base stations. Some engage in stealing of generators or diesel which are to power base stations that make services available at all times.
“We have situations where local communities or individuals bar technical staff from the service providers from installing equipment or carrying out repairs on existing systems,” Dambatta added.
“We also have situations where people engage in willful destruction or damage of telecoms infrastructure, in order to extort money from service providers.
“The industry has continued to lose huge sums of money as a result of vandalism of telecoms infrastructure, and more importantly, the nation has lost a lot of services as a result of this menace,” he said.
Dambatta said that the reason for the campaign was to ensure that Nigeria did not lose her pace of telecoms penetration.
He urged citizens to join the war against vandalism by being vigilant and reporting any form of destruction of infrastructure to security agencies.