Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Wednesday urged Nigerians to help to protect telecommunications infrastructure against vandalism.
Danbatta made the appeal at the organisation’s “Road Show Against Vandalism of Telecom Infrastructure’’ in Lagos.
Represented by the Director, Public Affairs of NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo, he said that Nigerians should 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 telecomms 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 said
“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 added.
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.