Nigeria’s government should declare telecommunications equipment in the nation as critical national infrastructure under the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) arrangement that confers priority and protected status to telecom facilities, according to Airtel Nigeria.
This follows recent vandalisation of telecoms facilities, especially in northern parts of Nigeria by terrorists believed to belong to the Boko Haram sect, as well as flooding in several parts of the country hampering quality of communication services.
Airtel Nigeria’s director in charge of regulatory affairs and special projects Osondu Nwokoro said terrorists had attacked 53 installations sites of the company, which had disrupted operations in almost 200 sites across northern Nigeria.
He added that the combination of flood and terrorist attacks have led to the destruction of telecommunications equipment responsible for the network’s current poor quality of service.
Nwokoro added that the company has also lost 32 installation sites to the flood which is affecting parts of the Middle-Belt region, Southern Nigeria and Delta state. In addition to damages incurred at the installation sites, more sites are at risk, including the company’s optical fibre capacities.
According to Airtel, its operations are being severely affected by armed insurgencies, which have hindered the 24 hour maintenance of telecoms facilities.
Nwokoro lamented that states such as Adamawa, Gombe, Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Kaduna States are the worst hit by the terror attacks, while cities such as Lokoja, Asaba, Ughelli-Patani and Patani-Elele are the most affected by flood.
He however assured the company’s many customers of Airtel’s commitment to tackling all its challenges, saying decisive steps are being taken to eradicate the damages inflicted on its operations. One of such is the facility-sharing agreements it has signed with other service providers.
The company is also engaging the services of highly efficient private security companies that will provide protection for its facilities in the affected states.