Professor Umar Garba Danbatta , Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) at the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) has asked the Nigerian Police to protecting telecoms infrastructure because of their critical role for the Nigerian economy.
The telecoms regulatory chief made this plea when he led a team of NCC officials on a courtesy visit to Solomon Arase, the Inspector General of Police in Abuja recently where he underscored the pivotal role telecommunications plays in the lives and economic well-being of any country.
“While we seek your support for urgent actualization of this law, we wish to implore you to see to the use of the current provisions of the law to ensure that individuals found to be engaged in willful destruction of telecoms infrastructure are timely prosecuted,” he said.
According to Danbatta, not only are vandalisation to telecoms infrastructure illegal, they also violate Criminal Justice Miscellaneous Provisions Act, CAP C39, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The two agencies are collaborating on vital issues concerning security of telecoms infrastructure and capacity building for modern policing which the Police chief says form the bedrock of modern security practices.
The NCC chief also used the opportunity to make further request from Arase, which includes the intervention of the IGP in addressing illegal sealing of base stations; Protection of Critical Telecom Infrastructure; Stealing of Telecoms Equipment and Prosecution of Cases on Contraventions of NCC Regulations.
The IGP in response praised the role of modern telecoms in tackling national security challenges, citing kidnapping as one area where the role of GSM has been pronounced.
Danbatta told the IGP that if urgent step is not taken against the adverse practices he mentioned, the telecommunications sector which has grown in leaps and now forms the super structure of modern lifestyle, social and economic practices will be hurt and it will impact very negatively on life in the country.
“Virtually all the financial transactions, mobile money and mobile banking are made possible as a result of the infrastructure and platforms provided by the telecom industry’’, according to the NCC chief.
‘’The vibrant social media industry that we are witnessing today is made possible by the platforms provided by the telecom industry. The telecom and ICT industry currently contributes about 10% to the GDP of this country. It is therefore evident that telecommunications impact positively on our lives, our families, businesses, governance, security, and even our social lives, and even in our international relations,” Danbatta adds.
Arase who expressed the readiness of the Force to work with the Commission immediately proposed the setting up of joint teams, drawn from the Police and NCC, that will handle telecoms related cases.