The executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has raised the alarm over incessant vandalisation of telecoms infrastructure across the country, saying it is undermining the Federal Government’s effort to achieve the 30 per cent broadband penetration target.
Speaking at a one-day sensitization programme on the protection of telecommunications infrastructure in Minna, Niger State, he said telecom infrastructure should be owned collectively and everyone should work against their vandalisation so they can serve the purpose for which they are meant because they serve all citizens beneficially.
“We want to sensitize the stakeholders not only the consumers, including the local governments and agencies of the federal government on the need to protect telecom infrastructure.
“This is actually key to the 8-point agenda which is to ensure quality of service and also broadband penetration.
“Also, because tampering with these infrastructure compromises the efforts of government to meet the 30 per cent broadband penetration target for 2018,” he said.
Danbatta who was represented by the commission’s head of zonal operations, Ms. Helen Obi, said NCC had achieved 22 per cent broadband penetration and hoped to reach 30 per cent target, stressing the need, therefore, to sensitise the stakeholders on not allowing the destruction so that they could serve the purpose they are meant to serve and so we can also ensure access and penetration of telecom services.
Earlier, the commission’s head of technical standards and network integrity (TSNI) department, Dr Lawal Bello said the industry had continued to lose sums of money and services as a result of vandalization of telecom infrastructure.
He said the spate of vandalisation of telecom infrastructure across the country had resulted in slowing down the growth of the services.
Bello outlined some of the challenges facing the sector as willful damage of telecom infrastructure in order to extort money from service providers, local communities or individuals barring technical staff of the service providers from installing equipment or carrying out repair on existing systems, criminal vandalism of infrastructure, diesel theft and digging up of cables for sale in the black market, among others.
Bello said the NCC on its part had been using various avenues such as the consumer outreach programme, telecom consumer parliament to sensitize the people as wel; as the sensitization awareness programme to educate Nigerians about the dangers associated with vandalization of telecom infrastructure.
In his remarks, the permanent secretary, human resources, Office of the Head of Service, Niger State, Mr Abubakar Salisu, called on NCC to give incentives to states that have less cases of vandalization.
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