Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) has said that provisions have been made in its 2017 budget to extend telecoms services to additional N40 million people across the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta made the remarks in Lagos on Thursday at a one day workshop organized by NCC for law enforcement agencies on telecommunications issues.
The EVC who was represented by the Director of Public Affairs of NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo stated that the commission had conducted a survey which identified about 200 communities nationwide with access gap.
He said through the Universal Service Provision Fund, (ISPF) being managed by a department under NCC, 40 million people in these areas would be covered in 2017.
Danbatta stated that empirical studies have shown correlation between usage of ICT and social development.
He said access to telecoms services has caused direct and indirect rise in employment generation across the sectors of the economy.
According to him, NCC is determined to move fast in it’s mandated of harnessing the potential of the information and communicationa technology, (ICT) sector to boost national economy.
Danbatta explained that the industry contributions to the national Gross Domestic Products is about 10 percent and NCC is committed to seeing greater development in the sector because of the mechanism put in place to implement the National Broadband Plan.
He said, “In this respect, two infrastructure companies have been licensed while the remaining five companies will be licensed shortly to commence the deployment of more broadband fibre networka beyond the major cities in the country. Out model, anchored on robust development of infrastructure, transmission and retail segment, is expected to speed up the cascading of networks of fibre required by individuals and businesses to improve life and catalyze the economic growth.”
Danbatta maintained that these tasks underscore the need for collaborations with security agencies to curtail criminal assault against telecoms infrastructure.
He said the mandate before the NCC in ensuring that telecoms sector contribute more to the economy triggers the zeal to perform and the need to halt obstacles to the realization of its objectives.
The EVC stated that the industry has witnessed rise in the theft of telecoms infrastructure and vandalism of installations facilities and equipment as well as usage of preregistered subscribers Identification Module, (SIM) cards all of which are infractions of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 and other extant regulations governing the industry.
Danbatta said while the commission has rolled out various commissions campaigns to raise awareness and made some arrest with the support of the police, there is need for effective strategies to ensure that anyone who is arrested is prosecuted.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charhe of ICT, CP Folusho Adebanjo said the police will do everything possible to protect lives and properties but, community people must see telecoms infrastructure within their localities as communal assets.
Adebanjo who delivered a keynote speech on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) Ibrahim Idris said, “The law enforcement officers must work with the community people, while the law enforcement agencies are responsible in performing their duties, the community people must see telecoms infrastructure as communal assets and report suspected criminal activities to the police.
The workshop had in attendance representatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, (NSCDC), the Nigerian Customs Services, Department of State Security Services, (DSS).
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