Wednesday, September 24, 2008

NCC assures on infrastructure security

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has said that telecommunication infrastructure would be protected to avoid vandalism that would set the industry back.

Ndukwe said at a stakeholder’s forum on “Vandalism of Telecommunications Infrastructure” in Abuja that the operators also have a great role to play in protecting their infrastructure.

“This means that they must take the security of their data and network seriously, institute corporate security plans and look for ways to collaborate on critical infrastructure protection,’’ he said.

He told the audience that telecommunications infrastructure should be considered as public property of strategic importance and it is criminal to vandalise them.

According to him, NCC would seek support of the security agencies to train those who would help to safeguard the infrastructure.

“The commission would also partner with various security agencies to put a stop to the situation,’’ he said.

As said by him, the operators should reduce competition and look at the inadequacies of each other and collaborate to fight it.

“NCC cannot do everything; it would only regulate and ensure that the system is moving. When you come together to fight the same cause, it will help to solve substantial problems. We will re-visit the law of wilful damage and enforce the law of compensation so that when you are billed for wilful damage, it may not occur again,’’ he said.

Mr. Val Amadi of Etisalat suggested that the commission should direct operators on the construction of their cables as a way forward.

“Operators should submit their drawings to the commission to help identify the defaulter when one damages each other’s cable. NCC should collaborate with the ministry of works, states and local governments to help ensure that telecommunications infrastructure are not damaged while constructing roads,’’ he said.

Mr. Martins Oluwale of Globacom suggested a harmonised policy for cable installation and laws that would make operators live up to their responsibilities.

“There is need to demarcate routes where cables are installed to avoid duplication of installation by operators,’’ he said.

While Mr. Ishaya Bawa of MTEL called for proper care and treatment of telecommunications staff as vandalism could only be done by professionals who knew how it was installed.

“Sometimes, the cause of vandalism may be out of anger,’’ he warned.

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