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FG moves to protect strategic telecom infrastructure

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The Federal Government yesterday asked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and stakeholders in telecom industry for details of strategic communications infrastructure across the country.

The NCC had decried attacks on fibre infrastructure in the North East by unidentified labourers, saying the incident constituted a breach to national security.

Speaking at a sakeholders Consultative Forum on the Implementation of the National Broadband Policy 2020-2025 in Abuja, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, said it has become imperative for telecom operators and the NCC to produce a database for all telecom facilities across the country with a unique identity attach to them for government to protect them.

According to him, government has found it necessary to forestall attacks on critical national Infrastructure.

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The minister said reports reaching him had indicated that fibre infrastructure was cut again on Monday, thereby cutting millions of people off-line in the North East.

Pantami urged stakeholders to report to his office any form of multiple taxations from the states, adding that he would engage governors to address the matter the same way the Right of Way (RoW) issue was resolved.

The minister, who expressed government’s determination to achieve the goals and targets set for the National Broadband Policy 2020-2025, said telecom operators should also make their requests regarding access to Foreign Exchange formal to enable him to discuss it with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

His remarks followed the NCC reports yesterday that Maiduguri, Borno State capital, and Damaturu, Yobe State capital, and other cities and towns in the North East had been cut off from communications to people within and outside the region as a result of the cut in the fibre facilities of telcom service providers.

The Chief Operating Officer of MTN, Mr. Mazen Mrouf, and Airtel’s Vice President (Networks), Dr. Adedoyin Adeola, had earlier expressed concerns over the attacks on fibre facilities in the area by unknown people.

Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, stressed the need for intervention of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) as well as the government of Borno to address the challenge.

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