The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, on Thursday said that the deployment of the Five Generation (5G) network in the country would begin from in January 2022.
The minister, who made the disclosure in Maiduguri at a Town Hall meeting organized to discuss the challenges of power and telecommunications infrastructure vandalism nationwide, said the deployment of the 5G network would aid surveillance against vandalism of public assets.
A news report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) indicated that Pantami, who was represented by Mr. Ubale Maska, Commissioner for Technical Services, Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) as saying that there are over 50,000 telecommunication sites across the country, which made it difficult to monitor manually except through deployment of modern technology.
In addition, he also disclosed that there were about 16,000 reported outages by mobile network operators (MNOs)from January 2021 to July 2021.
Pantami attributed the outages to fiber cuts, access denial and theft leading to service disruption in the affected areas, stressing that protection of the critical infrastructural facility was key to the nation’s security, economic vitality, public health and safety.
The minister decried the situation where telecoms facilities that were destroyed in the attacks by terrorists had not been replaced as a result of the lingering insecurity and tensions in parts of the North East.
On how to tackle the insecurity challenge headlong, the minister recommended continuous stakeholders buying-in and synergy among security forces and also urged the National Assembly to expedite passage of Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill (CIPB) to facilitate its timely enactment.
The meeting, organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture, had in attendance the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum of Borno and other stakeholders. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, led other ministers who were panelists at the town hall meeting.