By JESSICA DOGO
ABUJA – The Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC)of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta says Nigerians have a duty to protect telecommunications infrastructure in the country.
Danbatta said any vandalism made by individuals affects the quality of telecommunications services from service providers.
He made this known at the 2022 edition of Youth, Civil Society and Stakeholders summit on Thursday in Abuja.
The summit was on curbing the disruption and vandalism of telecoms, power, oil and gas, marine, railway, education, health and other critical infrastructure in Nigeria during elections.
The EVC, who was represented by Head, Corporate Communications, NCC, Nnnenna Ukaoha, called for collective action by the youth and community leaders to safeguard critical infrastructure from possible attacks.
He said this would sustain investors’ confidence and economic growth, adding that communication and connectivity were enablers to all sectors of life.
‘‘Communication and connectivity are now rights to every citizen and when you disrupt infrastructure, you are disrupting quality of experience and quality of service.
“What we are saying to Nigerians is to take ownership of infrastructure protection, because, if you vandalise it, it will affect quality of your life, business and everything.
‘‘It can even go to reduce poverty in our society, especially with young people.
“With internet connectivity, your computer can do so many things and turn your life around within seconds.
“Please take ownership of communication of infrastructure within your environment so that your life will improve, it will help cub poverty in rural and urban centres,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Usman Baba, said the force had engaged in series of trainings and execution of strategies to curb incidence of infrastructure vandalism in the country.
Baba, who was represented by Deputy Inspector-General (DIG), in charge of Counter-Terrorism Unit, Mr Iwo Nemi, called for citizens’ cooperation to tackle the menace.
‘The I-G said: ‘We have a role to play, first we engage in pre-during and after election.
“We have been making efforts to ensure peace.
“We need information, technology and support of the media to make sure we protect the critical national infrastructure.
‘‘Security is not for police alone, we need information from people to be able to work effectively. If you see something, say something.
“Policing is for everybody and it is local. Those who vandalise the critical infrastructure are our brothers and sister.”
Baba urged Nigerians to help the police with relevant information and “let us work on them.
‘‘We had series of seminars and workshops where police officers were trained on election management.
“We have done it in Ondo, Ekiti and Osun and we are ready to improve on whatever success we have recorded,” he said.
Earlier, the Director-General for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria, Mr Emmanuel Johnny said the roundtable was organised to mobilise stakeholders to create synergy.
Johnny, who was also the convener of the summit said the program was towards the protection of critical national infrastructure against vandalism, particularly during the forthcoming elections.
He urged politicians to set their priorities right and ensure they do not sponsor the youth to spoil critical infrastructure.
“Having observed that numerous infrastructure put in place by Federal Government in harnessing the resources of our nation and in attaining economic growth and development.
“We as patriotic Nigerians, feel it is our civic responsibility to mobilise stakeholders and CSOs to see how we can synergise towards the protection of this critical national infrastructure against vandalism and destruction, particularly during these coming elections.
‘‘We are advising politicians to set their priority very right and do not disrupt infrastructure, focus on their campaign, not to sponsor the youth to spoil critical infrastructure during elections.
‘‘From here, we are moving zone by zone, state by state to create synergy with traditional and youth leaders.
“We are calling on people to report any vandalisation in their area,” he said.
Jonny called on the National Assembly to create National Infrastructure Trust Fund, to help government raise funds with support from companies to protect and maintain these infrastructure.
He also called for the establishment of a commission to look after the National Critical Infrastructure.
“We feel government alone cannot do this without the support of the private sector,”he added.(NAN)