The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the protection of the telecom infrastructure against vandalism, Prof. Umar Dambatta, Vice chairman of NCC and Commandant of NSCDC, Abdullahi Muhammadu, signed on behalf of the two organizations.
Prof. Umar Dambatta, said, while speaking on the partnership, that looking at the huge investment made in the telecommunication infrastructure, it is expedient to guarantee Nigerians of quality and efficient telecom service. He also noted that the partnership will further boost the government’s plan on diversification. Also speaking, he said that NCC emergency centres would now be secured and the safety of lives and properties of Nigerians also will be guaranteed, and that will give more entry to new investors in the industry.
‘‘We keep reminding Nigerians about the 8 Point Agenda, Strategic collaboration and partnership with sister agencies of Government to achieve our mandate to the Nigerian people.”
‘‘Through this strategic partnership, which culminated into signing of the MoU with the CG of the NSCDC, we have succeeded in the practical terms, translating the intent of the agenda. Through the signing of the MoU, we have agreed that protection to the telecom infrastructure is so crucial, that is protecting them from vandalism and willful damage as well as ensuring that our emergency communications are protected.”
‘‘These centres have been put in place to bring relief to Nigerians in distress. They are provided to offer emergency services between the people in distress and the emergency agencies. ‘‘The signing of this MoU has further lend credence to our commitment to secure the lives of Nigerians, wherever they live, as well as protecting telecom infrastructure from vandalism across the country.”
‘‘The commandant has already given the matching orders to all his men given the responsibility to hit the ground running. This is a milestone attained. ‘‘NCC is trying to leverage the reach of NSCDC to protect critical national infrastructure which the telecom infrastructure is one of them. The reason for this is that telecom sector is connected to all sectors of the economy and is contributing 8-10%( N1.6 trillion) to the economy every quarter.”
‘‘The sector is poised to assist the diversification plan of government to move away from oil and gas and augment the revenue from oil and gas from other sources of revenue.”
He also added that ‘‘Huge sums of money had been invested to provide telecom infrastructure all over the country and the investors are eager to invest more, but the problem we are seeing is the infrastructure already in the ground are damaged either unintended or intended by vandals. ‘‘It is expected that our mandate does not end with regulation of telecom sector as well as ensuring quality and efficiency of those services, it extends to protecting the infrastructure that are hosting the services. I can assure that NCC is committed to this partnership and we will do our bit to keep our promise.’’
The Commandant of NSCDC, Abdullahi Muhammadu, noted that the partnership was a bright idea seeing that the establishment of the Corps was to protect critical national infrastructure and play a back up role for the Nigerian Police Force and Nigerian Army. He also stated that he would deploy enough manpower and ammunition in his capacity to further the course of this partnership.
‘‘It is our mandate to protect critical national infrastructure. I am ready to provide the equipment, the fire arms to protect this national infrastructure.”
‘‘Though, we know the equipment is inadequate but So far, we have to go the field first. As far as arms and ammunition as well as man power are concerned, we will do our job.”
‘‘I have a data of those already arrested but can’t give it out now. As at yesterday, we had secured conviction of about five vandals in the South East,’’ he said.
The Vice Chairman of NCC made his concerns known about those using preregistered sim cards, and said, those sim cards cause a whole lot of damage not only to NCC but to the security of the nation. Putting out a note of warning, he said that those engaging in such act should stop or be ready to dance to the tune of the law.
‘‘We cannot allow unscrupulous few among us to use preregistered Sim cards to undermine the security of the country. We must be seen to be doing everything within our mandate to end the use of unregistered sim cards. I want to warn those engaging in it to withdraw or the law will catch up with them.”
‘‘We will do all we can to make sure they are not in circulation. We have taken some measure, in addition to electronic forms to ensure we give a good example of those who willfully use the preregistered Sim cards to commit fraud,’’ he said.