NCC signs MoU with NSCDC to protect telecoms infrastructure

NCC Boss, Umar Garba Danbatta


The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to protect switch stations and BTSs of service providers in the country.

This followed the picketing of MTN offices by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which subsequently resulted in damages of some telecommunications firms’ infrastructure,NCC yesterday said it had contacted Assistant Commandant General (ACG), Jonathan Iyogho of the NSCDC on the matter and directed MTN to liaise with the NSCDC on the issue of the picketing by NLC and the reported destruction of telecom infrastructure nationwide.It said it has also briefed the security agencies on the development, particularly on the implications of attempts to shut down the Ojota switch station.

The telecoms regulator warned that there was the likelihood of a collapse of the telecommunications grid, if attacks on MTN and other telecoms facilities were not curtailed, adding NLC’s mode of picketing may have violated International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s principles, as the protest turned violent.NCC recalled that that telecoms infrastructure was classified as Critical National Infrastructure under the Cyber Security Act domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Professor Umar Danbatta, had opened talks with other critical stakeholders through the office of the Executive Commissioner stakeholders’ management, Sunday Dare, on the issue.NCC said the leaderships of the Association Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) were working with it on the developments.

“The regulator is working behind the scene to protect telecoms infrastructure and minimise telecom service disruptions in order not to compromise national security, quality of service and protection of over 160 million subscribers,” it stated.

Meanwhile, ATCON President, Olusola Teniola, has berated the NLC over demonstration at MTN’s headquarters and branches nationwide.He noted that the picketing of MTN Nigeria was uncalled for at a time when some companies were laying off workers due to the economic situation in the country.

“NLC’s action points to the fact that some people are out to sabotage ATCON’s efforts at encouraging its members to invest more in infrastructure development in the sector.“The amount of money lost during these demonstrations is alarming and ATCON thinks NLC should have approach the matter in a more professional and civilized manner. We would appreciate NLC to write to us before embarking on any demonstration that can put the security of the nation in jeopardy,” he said.

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