Blueprint for declaring ICT Infrastructure critical national assets
The 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 needs to be accompanied with immediate actions.
No doubt, the growing targeted attacks on telecom equipment, infrastructure and telecom workers are causing headaches for everybody – the regulator, operators and subscribers.
Vandalism is a clear and present danger hampering the provision of quality services to the over 140 million subscribers in the country.
Such disruptions not only disconnect subscribers, but also cause embarrassment to businesses and national security.
It also has ripple effects 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 vandalism of telecom infrastructure is a mirror of the country as whole from north to south and from east to west.
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.
While we welcome Barr. Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications plans to set up an ad-hoc committee to X-Ray the challenges facing the industry; we urge his ministry to include operators; the regulators; security agencies; and indeed ordinary Nigerians in the committee to find enduring solutions to the problems.
We believe that 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 mind-sets.
The aim is to make Nigerians see ICT infrastructure as a national resource which must be protected just like railway and electricity infrastructure.
The industry on its part must rally behind efforts to get government to declare ICT equipment, critical national infrastructure that must be protected by law.
Government should also beef up security around telecommunication infrastructure nationwide to prevent vandals from destroying critical economic infrastructure.