The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has called on telecommunications consumers in Nigeria to exercise the major role they have to play by protecting telecommunications infrastructure.
The director, zonal operations, NCC, Amina Shehu, made this known during a sensitisation programme at Wannune, Tarka local government area of Benue State. She said the role of telecom consumers is important to sustain and improve the quality of service delivery by service providers.
Shehu said besides the role of the law enforcement agencies in protecting telecom infrastructure, consumers – subscribers and ultimate users of telecom services – have an obligation to do everything to protect telecoms infrastructure in their environment. These include the base transceiver stations (BTS), underground fibre optic cable, as well as associated infrastructure.
Shehu decried the vandalisation of telecom infrastructure which often results in poor quality of service delivery to end-users.
“One of the major challenges to quality of service that operator provides to you is vandalism of telecom infrastructure, such as base transceiver stations (BTS), theft, hostility from some host communities which have continued to pose a major setback to the industry. Therefore, the public must regard telecom facilities as collectively-owned infrastructure crucial and essential for the provision of efficient and acceptable telecom services. [This is] the more reason these facilities need to be adequately protected,” she urged.
While imploring the indigenes to ensure that they protect telecom facilities in their community, Shehu, who was represented at the event by an assistant director, zonal operations, NCC, Abubakar Usman, further enjoined the consumers to always alert law enforcement agencies close to them once they suspect any act of vandalism, theft or other suspicious activities directed at telecom infrastructure. Such nefarious activities, she said, have implications for the quality of service delivery in the communities.
Shehu underscored the centrality of the telecommunications sector to the economy and also informed the audience that, in the last 15 years, telecom has been a major contributor to the nation’s economic growth and development. The director, zonal operations, said the commission will continue to collaborate with relevant agencies and keep sensitising consumers on their role in ensuring the security of telecom infrastructure.
One issue Shehu discussed in her speech was the misinformation about electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation emanating from telecommunications infrastructure which she asserted was not harmful according to studies conducted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
Shehu stated that the overall objective of the event is to sensitise members of the public on the need to protect telecommunication infrastructure and, more importantly, correct the misconception people have about the effect of radio magnetic waves on human health. “So, the commission is saying to you again that there is no scientific evidence yet that shows that radiation from telecom masts constitute health hazards to human. We want you to help spread this information to those that are not here,” she said.
A statement by the commission’s director of press, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said participants were also enlightened on the illegality of pre-registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards, the imperatives of proper SIM registration, the importance of National Identification Number and the NIN-SIM linkage exercise during the event.
Also, consumers were informed about facilities provided by the commission to improve their telecom experience and quality of life generally. These include the NCC toll-free number (622), the 112 National Emergency Number and the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 shortcode for barring unsolicited text messages, amongst others.
Meanwhile, the paramount ruler of Wannune, Chief Gandeorun Orokaa, who attended the event, thanked the commission on behalf of the participants for bringing the sensitisation programme to the community to educate consumers on sensitive issues, correct wrong notions and clarify misconceptions.
He called on the natives to support NCC in protecting telecoms infrastructure to ensure that the quality of service improves in the areas.