The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC says Nigerians have a duty to take ownership of protecting telecommunications infrastructure as vandalisation affects the quality of service from service provider.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta stated this in Abuja , at the 2022 edition of Youth, Civil Society and Stakeholders summit on curbing the disruption and vandalisation of telecoms, power oil and gas, railway and other critical infrastructure in Nigeria during the 2023 general election.
He said that communication and connectivity is now a right for every citizen and when telecoms infrastructure is tampered with, it will automatically disrupt quality of experience and service they receive.
Professor Danbatta who was represented by the Head Corporate Communications, NCC, Nnnenna Ukaoha called for collective action by the youth and community leaders to safeguard critical infrastructure from possible attacks.
He said safeguarding these infrastructures would sustain investors confidence and economic growth in the country.
He said “What we are saying to the Nigerian people is in your environment take ownership of infrastructure protection because if you vandalize it, it will affect quality of your life, business, everything because communication and connectivity is an enabler to every sector of life.
“It can even go to reduce poverty in our society, especially with young people. With internet connectivity, your computer can do so many things and turn your life around within seconds. Please take ownership of communication of infrastructure within your environment so that your life will improve, it will help cub poverty in rural and urban centres,’’ the NCC Boss stressed.
The Inspector General of Police, who was represented by Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Counter- Terrorism Unit, Iwo Nemi , said the force has been engaging in series of training and execution of strategies to curb incidence of vandalism and called for citizens cooperation to tackle the menace.
‘‘We have role to play, first we engage in pre- during and after election. We have been making efforts to ensure peace and need information, technology and support of the media to make sure we protect the critical national infrastructure.
‘‘Security is not for police alone, we need information from people to be able to work effectively. If you see something say something. Policing is for everybody and is local. Those who vandalize the critical infra are your brothers and sister. Help us with relevant information and let us work on them.
‘‘We have series of seminars and workshops where police officers are trained on election management. We have done it in Ondo, Ekiti and Osun and we are ready to improve on whatever success we have recorded,” he explained.
The Convener of the summit and Director General for Civil Society Organisations, CSOs in Nigeria, Emmanuel Johnny said the roundtable was organised to mobilise stakeholders and CSOs to create synergy towards the protection of critical national infrastructure against vandalism and destruction, particularly during the coming elections.
He cautioned politicians to set their priorities right and ensure they do not sponsor the young people to destroy critical infrastructure during elections, and urged Nigerians to take ownership of protecting critical infrastructure.
He said, ‘‘Haven observed that numerous infrastructure put in place by federal government in harnessing the resources of our nation and in attaining economic growth and development, we as patriotic Nigerians, feel it is our civic responsibility to mobilize stakeholders and CSOs to see how we can create synergy towards the protection of this critical national infrastructure against vandalism and destruction, particularly during these coming elections.
‘‘We are advising politicians to set their priority very right and do not disrupt infrastructure, focus on their campaign, not to sponsor the youths not to spoil critical infrastructure for elections. Nigerians should begin to take ownership of critical infrastructure. From here we are moving zone by zone, state by state to create synergy with traditional and youth leaders. We are calling on people to report any vandalisation in their area.’’
Infrastructure Trust Fund
Mr. Jonny also called on the National assembly to create National Infrastructure Trust Fund to help government raise funds with support from companies to protect and maintain this infrastructure.
“We feel government alone cannot do this without the support of the private sector. Also called for establishment of a Commission to look after the National Critical Infrastructure,”he added .