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‘NCC, NSCDC’s telecom infrastructure protection deal, a step to CNI status’

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), moved an inch towards a strategic move to accord telecoms facilities the status of Critical national Infrastructure (CNI).

This stemmed from its Memorandum of Understanding on the protection of telecommunications infrastructure with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Wednesday in Abuja.

The security agency said with the signing of the MoU, it has designated a desk charged with the responsibility of monitoring telecommunications infrastructure across the country.

The desk is also charged with the responsibility of arresting those vandalising critical telecom infrastructures, detaining them as well as prosecuting them in courts.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta, said it had become necessary to leverage the reach of the NSCDC nationwide to protect the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure.

He said, “I want to commend the NSCDC for providing security to the nation, protecting businesses and safeguarding investors. The NCC is trying to leverage the reach of the NSCDC to protect critical national infrastructure, which the telecom infrastructure is part of.

“The reason for this is that the telecomm sector is connected to all sectors of the economy and contributes N1.6tn to the economy every quarter (eight to 10 per cent). “Huge sums of money had been invested to provide telecom infrastructure all over the country. And investors are eager to invest more but the problem we are seeing is that the infrastructure already on the ground is being damaged intended and unintended.

“Through this partnership, we hope our critical infrastructure will be protected.”

In another development, NCC, warned those trading in pre-registered SIM cards to desist from doing so or be prepared to face the wrath of the law, saying “We cannot allow unscrupulous individuals among us to use pre-registered 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 and pre-registered SIM cards. I want to warn those engaging in the trade 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 measures, in addition to electronic forms, to ensure that we make an example of those who wilfully use pre-registered SIM cards to commit crimes,” Danbatta averred.

However, NSCDC did not give details on how it will achieve the feat, considering the fact that the entire telecoms infrastructure already has private security details attached to them by their owners.