Worrying security situation of critical infrastructure

A 4G mast

Nigeria’s refractory and sore-footed approach to the protection of critical infrastructure particularly ICT resources is worrying.

To most Nigerians, ICT infrastructure is fat cow which everybody must milk.

And either out of ignorance or by refusal to do the right thing or both; governments at all levels have paid insignificant attention to the protection of critical infrastructure.

It is disturbing because critical infrastructure is the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, security, and health. In simple terms, it provides the essential services that underpin Nigerian society.

Since 2010, the campaign to declare telecom equipment as critical national infrastructure has been at best rag tag and loosely coordinated with governments; legislature; and the private sector on different pages.

In the absence of strategic guidance to public and private partners to promote the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure; there have been growing targeted attacks on these infrastructures particularly on ICT equipment, infrastructure and their workers.

For instance, in a state in the south east, vandals are now so brazen that leave notes with their addresses after vandalizing ICT equipment and ask owners to come and pay for them.

Vandalism of ICT infrastructure is a clear and present danger hampering the provision of quality services to Nigerians as well as causing headaches for operators and the government.

Such disruptions not only disconnect subscribers, but also cause embarrassment to businesses and national security.

It also has ripple effect on the economy, including; reduced investment, job losses and reduced taxable income

The country is simply under the siege of growing army of criminals; and the numbers of people who are dying in their hands are higher than some countries hit by natural disasters or civil wars.

The campaign for the protection of telecommunications equipment must be reinvigorated.

It has been proven that most vandals do not have clear motives for their acts. It is therefore important to raise awareness on the critical nature of the infrastructure and begin to change Nigerians mindsets.

The aim is to make Nigerians see ICT infrastructure as a national resource which must be protected just like railway and electricity infrastructure.

The national assembly must also give the critical infrastructure bill the seriousness it deserves because ICT infrastructures are like the central nervous system of communications.

Government should also beef up security around ICT infrastructure nationwide to prevent vandals from destroying critical economic infrastructure.

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