The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has revealed that telecommunication operators have recorded over 33, 000 cases of vandalism and stealing of their facilities. The NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta gave the disclosure in Minna, Niger State, at a one-day sensitisation programme on “Protection of telecoms infrastructure”.
According to Danbatta, who was represented by the Head, Zonal Operations Department, Mrs Helen Obi, the incidents took place from June 2017 to August 2018. Infrastructure vandalism, fibre cables and battery thefts were also prominent, with Globacom, being the worse hit. He lamented that the menace is responsible for the poor network services in some parts of the country.
Danbatta further disclosed that the situation has also affected network users negatively, with attendant huge losses to telecom operators and low revenue for the government. He said for Nigeria to achieve its broadband penetration target by the end of the year, such criminal activities must be nipped in the bud.
“The advent of telecommunication has changed the way we live compared to how we lived in 2001. However, there are some challenges pervading the seamless provision of services in the country.
“Telecom facilities have been targets of vandalism, theft and hostility in some host communities. These have been the recurring challenges that have affected the attainment of applicable of service standards in the industry, he said.”
The NCC boss added: “The service provision has brought a lot of value to our lives. We should protect the structures that support the data that we use for a wide range of things. He urged the National Assembly to quickly pass the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) bill that is pending before it, adding that such would ensure that the network providers’ facilities identified as an important national asset, and protected.
He explained that the sensitisation programme was to ensure that consumers are not left to misguided information that could lead them to destroy these facilities. He said with the contribution of the sector to the economy, there is the need to devise stricter ways to protect its facilities.