Helen Obi , Head Zonal Operations who delivered the opening remarks stated that “ The programme is an initiative of the Nigerian Communications Commission aimed at sensitizing stakeholders, as well as creating awareness about the importance of Telecommunications Infrastructure in our domain.”
She further noted“ Telecoms facilities have been targets of vandalism, theft and hostility from some hosting communities and, it has become imperative for the public to regard telecom facilities as ‘ Collectively owned Infrastructure that are crucial and essential for the provision of efficient and standard Quality of Service (QoS),and must be protected.”
Lawal Bello of the department of Technical Standards and Network Integrity delivered a paper entitled “ Protection of Telecoms Infrastructure” where he observed That “ The Federal Government recently sponsored a bill before the National Assembly which when passed into law would ensure that telecoms infrastructure all around the country are protected and identified as an important CRITICAL NATIONAL ASSET”
He further identified some challenges facing telecom infrastructure in the country which include:
1. People engaging in wilful damage of telecom infrastructure in order to extort money from service providers.
2. Local communities or individuals barring technical staff of the service providers from installing equipment or carrying out maintenance/repairs at sites.
3. Criminal vandalism of infrastructure, Diesel Theft & digging up of cables for sale in the black market and other purposes.
4. Destruction of telecom infrastructure due to road construction, community interference and oversight functions from other governmental agencies.
5. Multiple regulations by states, LGAs and Communities which has adverse effects and delays deployment of infrastructure.
6. Multiple taxes through levies imposed by states, LGAs and Communities which eats up capital for re- investment.
7. Right of way (RoW) issues.
It is important to note that the spate of vandalism of telecom infrastructure across the country has resulted in slowing the pace of growth of services.
His conclusion attracts “a clarion call for stakeholders, traditional rulers and religious leaders to cooperate and collaborate with the government to enforce the protection of telecoms infrastructure across the country.”
An interactive Q&A session was allowed in which the public asked relevant questions as a feedback mechanism.