The Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umaru Danbatta, recently disclosed plans to criminalise vandals of telecom facilities and create network access points in all Local Government Areas (LGAs) to cater for millions of Nigerians.
Prof Danbatta, declared in a public statement, that the recurrent cases of vandalised equipment in base transceiver stations — popularly called telephone masts — have hindered a lot of technological and economic development.
In 2016, the commission organised a roadshow calling for Nigerians to stop damaging telecom infrastructure.
And earlier this year, Amina Shehu, Director Zonal Operations at NCC also re-echoed the call, maintaining that the protection of telecom infrastructure should be a collective responsibility of every Nigerian.
Unfortunately, instances of vandalism have not ebbed despite these pleas.
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In order to tackle this menace, the NCC claims to be working on a bill that will consider telecom infrastructure as critical national infrastructure, deserving national protection.
Pointing out the fact that tens of millions of individuals in Nigeria do not have access to network coverage, the NCC plans to create points of access in every LGA using fibre optic cables, to enable data transfer speeds of up to 10 GB/ps to rural areas.
By taking legislative measures to criminalise vandalism, the NCC seeks to ensure that both new and existing facilities are protected to foster nationwide digital coverage.