Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr. Isa Pantami has hinted that the Five Generation (5G) network will be deployed in Nigeria in January 2022 and will aid surveillance against vandalism of public assets.

The minister disclosed this on Thursday in Maiduguri at a Town Hall Meeting to address vandalism of power and telecommunications infrastructure.

Pantami, who was represented by Mr Ubale Maska, Commissioner for Technical Services, Nigeria Communication Commission, said the 5G network was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council for increased connectivity.

He said while the technology would boost surveillance against criminal elements vandalising public infrastructure across the country, other measures should be put in place to arrest them and bring them to book.

The minister disclosed that there were over 50,000 telecommunication sites across the country, which made it difficult to man manually except through the deployment of modern technology.

He also disclosed that there were about 16,000 reported outages by mobile network operators – MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile – from January 2021 to July 2021.

The outages, according to him were due to fibre cuts, access denial and theft leading to service disruption in the affected areas.

He noted that protection of the critical infrastructural facility was key to the nation’s security, economic vitality, public health and safety.

He decried the situation where telecoms installations 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.

As a way forward, the minister recommended continuous stakeholders buying-in and synergy among security forces.

He also urged the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill for onward submission to the President for assent.

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