As part of Federal Government policy, the minister had championed efforts to identify telecommunications infrastructure as critical national infrastructure, with a view to protecting them from vandalism and theft.
The minister said also that the president had directed that necessary physical protective measures be put in place to safeguard telecommunications infrastructure across the country.
He explained that the Nigerian telecommunications industry, depended on a number of infrastructure that played critical roles in the smooth delivery of telecoms services in the country.
He said: “These are part of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) because of the important role they play, in ensuring security and in the delivery of other essential services.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a massive migration to digital platforms and has increased the level of importance of Critical National Infrastructure to the sustenance of our economy and the security of the nation.”
Pantami, however, said that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had been notified of the president’s directives.
He thanked the president and commended the security agencies for the commitment they demonstrated in securing the infrastructure.
The minister urged all the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to ensure that they further reduced the prices of data and calls for the citizens, adding that this was to reciprocate the gesture.
He also requested the MNOs to submit a comprehensive list of their facility locations all over the country.
“We are also working toward the reinforcement of these directives through appropriate regulatory instruments
“The implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) and the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, both unveiled by the president, have repositioned the ICT sector.
“This is evident by the recent Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which showed that the ICT sector contributed an unprecedented 14.07 per cent to the total GDP in the first quarter of 2020.
“We are confident that this will address the challenge of vandalism of our critical national infrastructure.
It will also go a long way in supporting the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (2020-2025),” the minister said.