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FG warns states against closure, vandalisation of telecoms infrastructure


Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami. Photo: TWITTER/DRISAPANTAMI

•Minister Appeals To Customs On Fuel To BTS At Border Posts
The Federal Government has called on states to desist from incessant closure and vandalisation of telecoms infrastructure, otherwise known as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), saying such activities were capable of undermining national security.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, who gave this warning, said the attention of the federal government had been drawn to very serious, unpatriotic and corrupt activities of some criminal elements within the public service, who have continued to engage in acts capable of undermining the country’s security apparatus.

Pantami, speaking yesterday in Abuja, said his office had received several complaints from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) about the unfortunate incidences of forced closures or outright destruction of telecommunications infrastructure in some parts of the country, with Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) and other telecommunications facilities reportedly being vandalised by state-owned agencies in some parts of the country, thereby hindering MNOs from delivering the requisite services to the consumer.

A statement signed by his spokesman, Uwa Suleiman, said the minister, in a correspondence with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), confirmed and emphasised that telecommunications infrastructure are a Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and central to national security.

According to the statement, ONSA also claimed that these actions constitute a violation of relevant laws of Nigeria and threat to national economic development, as most businesses nowadays depend on services provided by telecommunications operators.

The minister, in an earlier intervention to bring this challenge to a permanent end, had written to affected state governors, urging them to ensure that all agencies and residents within their respective domains desist from these acts.

In a related development, the minister has expressed concerned about the obstruction and hindrance to the activities of MNOs by some men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), thereby constituting a challenge to telecommunications services delivery.

He said numerous complaints reaching his office alleged that men of the Service, especially around border towns where BTS are located, deny passage to petrol tank drivers, thereby denying them access to refuel generators supplying power to these base stations.

Pantami, while applauding the revived efforts of the NCS in tackling the activities of smugglers, however, urged the Service to direct its officers deployed to these locations to identify and grant concession to genuine drivers carrying petroleum supplies to remote locations.

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