Stakeholders in the Nigeria Telecommunications Industry have been canvassing that the federal government declare telecom infrastructure in the country as critical national and security assets.
The latest clarion call emerged from Mr Deolu Ogunbanjo National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) President who noted that recent move by the federal government to declare telecom infrastructure in the country as critical national and security assets is a move in the right direction, but it needed to be accompanied with immediate actions.
He stated that the growing targeted attacks on telecom equipment, infrastructure and telecom workers are causing headaches for everybody including the regulator, operators and subscribers.
He stated that persistent vandalism of telecom infrastructure is a mirror of the country as whole from north to south and from east to west and present danger hampering the provision of quality services to the over 140 million subscribers in the country.
He added that such disruptions not only disconnect subscribers, but also cause embarrassment to businesses and national security.
According to him, this trend also has ripple effects on the economy, including; reduced investment, job losses, reduced taxable income and in absence of official figures is believed to be costing the industry billions of naira annually.
Ogunbanjo lamented that the country is simply under the siege of growing army of criminals and the numbers of people who are dying in their hands are higher than some countries hit by natural disasters or civil wars.
He lauded Barr. Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications plans to set up an ad-hoc committee to x-ray the challenges facing the industry and urge his ministry to include operators, the regulators, security agencies and indeed ordinary Nigerians in the committee to find enduring solutions to the problems.
He disclosed that it is imperative that these vandals who do not have clear motives for their acts are giving proper orientation on the importance, the critical nature of these infrastructure and begin to change Nigerians mind-sets.
The aim is to make Nigerians see ICT infrastructure as a national resource, he said which must be protected just like railway and electricity infrastructure.
He charged the industry players to rally behind efforts to get government to declare ICT equipment, critical national infrastructure that must be protected by law.
Consequently, he added that government should also beef up security around telecommunication infrastructure nationwide to prevent vandals from destroying critical economic infrastructure.