Call for Nigerian patriot act for ICT infrastructure
The 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 lacks an essential ingredient- education.
Vandalism is a clear and present danger hampering the provision of quality services to the over 140 million phone subscribers in the country.
Such disruptions not only disconnect subscribers, but also cause embarrassment to businesses and national security.
It also has ripple effect on the economy, including; reduced investment, job losses and reduced taxable income.
In absence of official figures, this senseless crime is believed to be costing the industry billions of naira annually.
The persistent destruction of telecom infrastructure is a mirror of the country as whole from north to south and from east to west.
Policy and lawmakers must find ways to communicate to Nigerians that ICT are critical infrastructure, so vital to the country that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of these matters,
Education is the key.
It has been proven that most vandals do not have clear motives for their acts.
It is therefore important to raise awareness on the critical nature of the infrastructure and begin to change Nigerians mindsets.
The aim is to make Nigerians see ICT infrastructure as a national resource which must be protected just like railway and electricity infrastructure.
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has led the way through the use of various avenues such as the Consumer Outreach Programme (COP), Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) as well its most recent project, a TV programme entitled “Telecom Today” to educate Nigerians as well as to create awareness about the dangers associated with vandalism of Telecom infrastructure and this is due to the fact that without these infrastructures there will be no telecom services.
The federal government on its part should also beef up security around telecommunication infrastructure nationwide to prevent vandals from destroying critical economic infrastructure.
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