Wednesday , December 1 2021
Bolo haram destroy telecom infrastructure

Operators tasks FG on CNI bill hasty passage as terrorist destroy facilities in Yobe

Telecommunications Operators have tasked the Federal Government on speeding up the process of passing the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) bill to law as terrorist destroyed more facilities in Yobe.

The Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo has described the attacks as very unfortunate.

As a result, he emphasized that efforts must be made by the Federal Government and security agencies to protect life and property in the country.

Adebayo, who recalled that operators suffered the same experience some years back in some parts of the North East, lamented that “sadly this happened again.”

He appealed to the Federal Government to kindly provide special protection for critical telecommunications infrastructure (CNI) across the country, especially in the North East.

“But as an industry, we will continue to work with the authorities to minimise the effect of this willful damage on the public.”

Suspected Boko Haram insurgents in five gun trucks had attacked Babangida and destroyed telecom masts in their move to infiltrate Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, on Sunday.

It was learned that the terrorists burst into the town from Sasawa Forest to overrun the local council headquarters before targeting Damaturu through Gashua road.

Babangida, which is 50 kilometres north of Damaturu, was attacked with the emir’s palace four times in October 2018.

Lt. Chinonso Oteh, acting assistant director, Army Public Relations for Sector 2, Operation Lafiya Dole, confirmed that attack and said that the terrorists’ plan was to attack Damaturu, but security operatives repelled them with the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) fighter jets.

“Actually, Babangida is the area where those bad boys always gather before they start infiltrating Damaturu. Everything is now under control. There is no cause for alarm, as they have been chased towards the Sasawa forest in the Babangida/Geidam axis.”

Oteh said details of casualty were yet to be available when he spoke to The Guardian.

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Ibrahim Auta, a resident, said that the terrorists also burnt mobile phone masts.

“We saw the boys burning down the masts of MTN and Airtel in the town. That was why the residents could not communicate to security agencies in Damaturu and other family members in the nearby bushes.”

Speaking on this, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has warned the rise on vandalism will negatively impact quality of telephony services and slow fresh investments into the sector.

ATCON President, Olusola Teniola said said it has become imperative that all telecoms facilities in the country are deemed critical national assets and are protected by CNI law, so that Quality of Services (QoS) is not degraded beyond the point whereby citizens in the impacted areas are not able to make a voice call in order to reach their loved ones or even carry out day-to-day business.

“The Damage to the facilities will cost more to repair and “inevitably these associated costs are passed onto the consumers in affected areas.”With such cases becoming frequent in the country, Teniola said: “It makes it even harder for government to achieve the 70 per cent broadband penetration target for 2025 and makes it a particular challenge by operators to keep services ongoing under tough circumstances.”

Also Tobechukwu Okigbo, Chief Corporate Services Officer, MTN Nigeria, said: “We are working with security agencies on the ground to ascertain the true situation of things, and determine how to respond

“Our primary focus at this time is the safety of our staff and securing the delivery of uninterrupted services to our customers.”

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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