Against the backdrop of the heat constantly generated by poor quality of telecoms services in the country, the telecoms operators and the government have been collaborating on ways to put an end to the unfortunate development.
The operators have consistently sounded a note of warning that the situation may persist if the government does not do anything about the frequency of telecom facility vandalisation, conversion to other uses and or wilfully damaged. Their argument has been that that there can never be telecommunication without the facilities and infrastructure that enable the services, stressing that to demand for quality of service was to also demand for the protection of telecom facilities.
However, it seems that the message is sinking positively into the government's consciousness.
This is as the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, Mr Okechukwu Itanyi, weekend admitted that government needed to rank telecoms infrastructure among the critical infrastructure which should enjoy priority protection in the country.
Itanyi, at the 54th edition of the Consumer Outreach programme in Ikorodu Lagos, at the weekend, also enjoined responsible citizens of the country to always discourage unauthorized usage and conversion of telecoms infrastructure, to other uses.
NCC consumer outreach was established to bring together consumers, service providers and the regulator under one platform for the purpose of addressing consumer related issues as well as to educate stakeholders on contemporary issues generating attention in the industry.
According to Itanyi, "it our collective responsibility to protect these infrastructure from vandalisation, stealing, and any other abuses. In fact, telecoms infrastructures should rank among the critical infrastructures which should enjoy major attention in the country.
"I appeal that government should expedite actions towards making telecoms infrastructure a National critical asset that should be accorded priority attention in terms of protection."
He also lamented other challenges faced by the industry including destruction of telecoms facilities due to road construction; community interference and demanding excessively before installation; interference from government agencies such as closing down of some service providers network in some states.
"The theme for discussion to day is the protection of telecom infrastructure. The topic becomes imperative because telecom infrastructure has a direct and indirect on the spread of telecom service to the nook and crannies of the country as well as the quality of service being experience by the consumers. I wish to highlight that, development of telecom infrastructureis an important phase in the life cycle of the telecommunication industry. It is obvious that without telecom infrastructure, there will be no telecom service and it is our collective responsibility to protect telecom infrastructure in our society.
The commission provided conducive environment which helped in attracting Foreign Direct investment into the industry and eventually made telecom infrastructure to be widely available in the country. Nigeria is virtually covered by these infrastructure in terms of Optic fibre Cables, Mast and towers, bandwidth and Internet facilities etc. This in turn is expected to bring about a phenomenal growth in the telecom industry and other sectors of the economy. This has been our focus and priority at the commission for quite some time."
The event which held in Ikorodu, Lagos, was graced by representatives of various telecoms operators including Mr. Olusegun Ojofeitimi from Airtel, Mustaphar Ofam from MTN and Emmanuel Enyinnaya from Etisalat.
They urged the consumers to stop telecoms vandalism for the provision of better and qualitative telecoms services.