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ONSA to brief President Buhari on Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) protection – Pantami



The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has given update as regards plans for Critical National Infrastructure, CNI, Protection.
Digital Economy

Abubakar, Maska, Pantami, Abdullahi and Adewolu

Recall that while hosting the National Executive Council, NEC, of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, ATCON who were in his office in November last year, the Minister said that in a bid to systematically address the challenges facing the telecom sector and ensure Nigerians enjoy improved quality of service and downward review in the price of mobile data, plans are underway to ensure maximum protection of telecom infrastructures.

Speaking during a press conference to declare the Ministry’s plan for the year and the decade, the Minister disclosed that Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) was vetting content of the proposed Executive Order on Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) Protection.

CNI is one of the key demands of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure a halt to rampant vandalism of telecommunications infrastructure.

The Minister said he was confident that President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the Executive Order soon.

He also said that ahead of the Order, the police authorities have been directed to locate key telecom facilities for surveillance.

CNI has been one of the major issues waiting to be addressed in the Nigerian telecommunications space. reported in August last about an incident of fibre theft in Kano State.

Following a tip-off, the Kano Zonal Office of the Nigerian Communications Commission, in conjunction with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), arrested three persons in the state over fibre cable vandalism and theft.

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This is just as the Commission called on telecom consumers to always report cases of cable vandalism to it and law enforcement agencies.

The NASS and CNI Bill

Nigeria’s inability to enact laws to designate telecommunications infrastructure as critical national infrastructure is one of the challenges faced by investors in the market.


To show example, South Africa has gone ahead to enact a new law protecting the critical infrastructure thereby replacing the outdated apartheid-era National Keypoints Act of 1980.

In Nigeria, the CNI bill has been with the National Assembly for over one decade even as the industry has attracted over $70billion.

The rate of vandalism, especially fibre cuts has increased by 80 per cent since 2016.

In 2015, the industry recorded about 1,200 cuts. Over 10,000 generating sets were lost to miscreants who broke into Base Transceiver Stattions (BTS) to steal diesel, batteries and others.

President, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, said the passage of the bill alongside the enforcement of Section 4 of the Cybercrime Act, which make reference to CNI, will protect the industry and ensure the growth of the sector.


Dr. Pantami (left) and Teniola (right)

Now, industry stakeholders are hopeful that the Executive Order on CNI comes to effect very quick as recipe to the investment community and uptake of broadband infrastructure deployment across the country.

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