Information and Communications Technology stakeholders in the country have said the Federal Government lacks the competence to protect infrastructure driving the $25bn telecoms industry from terror attacks since it has not been able to protect the citizens as well as places of worship from terrorists.
Industry players acknowledged that they still had to rely heavily on the government for protection, but expressed low confidence in its ability to ward off terrorist attacks on telecoms installations.
They expressed the fear that 2013 might not be different from the past year, in which several telecoms base stations and other installations were severely bombed in some parts of the country, and decried the dearth of investment that would result if the attacks persisted.
The Chairman, Nigeria Internet Group, Mr. Bayo Banjo, said, “How will the government protect telecoms infrastructure when it cannot protect human beings, churches and mosques?”
Speaking in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, Banjo argued that the government had proven to be incompetent in dealing with terror attacks in the telecoms industry.
“We have to blame the government squarely. Why are telecoms operators paying taxes and the government cannot provide security and protect their investments? Everything is government’s fault at the end of the day because the security operatives deployed will not even be able to do their job properly if they are not well motivated,” he said.
Banjo, however, lamented that the situation was not likely to improve this year, warning that if the attacks continued, telecoms investors would stay in places where it would be possible for them to thrive.
“If you look at it, even from the beginning, telecoms revenues have never gone below 60 per cent in Lagos, which means the remaining 40 per cent is being shared among the other states. What it means is that the operators will concentrate in places where they can operate,” he said.
The Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said there was a difference between not providing enough protection for telecoms infrastructure and not willing to do so.