Nigeria Advocates Joint Protection Of Undersea Cables In West Africa

The executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Aminu Maida
The executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Aminu Maida.

In response to recent disruptions caused by undersea cable cuts in the West African region, Nigeria has called for a collaborative effort among regional countries to protect shared telecommunications infrastructure and ensure uninterrupted connectivity.

The executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida delivered this message at the 21st West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly (WATRA) annual general meeting (AGM) held in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from March 19 to 22, 2024.

Highlighting the significance of secure telecom infrastructure for fostering foreign direct investment (FDI) and enhancing investor confidence in the region, Maida emphasised the need for reliability and resilience in telecommunications networks. He referred to a report by Cloudflare indicating ongoing outages in several African countries, underscoring the urgency of protecting submarine infrastructure.

Maida proposed the establishment of a framework for joint monitoring, risk mitigation, and emergency response procedures for submarine cables passing through the sub-region. He recommended expanding the mandate of the WATRA Working Group on Infrastructure to develop a comprehensive strategy for safeguarding telecommunications networks and associated infrastructure.

The proposed goals of the working group include strengthening infrastructure resilience, promoting connectivity diversification, conducting regular capacity assessments, and designating telecommunications infrastructure as critical national assets in member countries.

The AGM also discussed issues related to accessible and affordable telecommunication services, consumer protection, quality of service, roaming and conflict resolution. Engr. Yusuf Aboki was re-elected as the executive secretary of WATRA for a second term, with commendations for his leadership and achievements during his first tenure.

Nigeria’s advocacy for joint protection of undersea cables in West Africa reflects a commitment to regional cooperation and resilience in telecommunications infrastructure. Through collaborative efforts, the region aims to mitigate disruptions, attract investment and enhance economic growth and competitiveness on the global stage.

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