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Digital Infrastructure: Nigeria intensifies engagement with ITU on undersea cable protection

Dr. 'Bosun Tijani, Honourable Minister for Communications, Innovation (r), and Tomas Lamanauskas, Deputy Secretary-General of ITU, in Geneva, Switzerland          Photo: Dr.‘BosunTijani/LinkedIn

*The Federal Government Federal Government and the International Telecommunication Union  resume discussions targeted at protecting submarine cables and other digital infrastructure in view of the recent downtime in voice, data services in the country, resulting from optic fibre cuts along the West African coast

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In regard to the recent downtime telecoms consumers experienced in voice and data services as a result of undersea cable cuts along the West African coast, the Federal Government and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have resumed discussions targeted at protecting submarine cables and other digital infrastructure.

ConsumerConnect reports Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, disclosed this development Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in a blogpost via his verified social media account.

ITU headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for matters related to information and communication technology worldwide.

Keen industry observers noted the Nigerian Government must have made the move to build resilience in the digital infrastructure, following the recent undersea cable cut that disrupted telecommunications in Nigeria and other West African countries.

Tijani is upbeat about the outcome of the meeting with the ITU Deputy Secretary-General, Tomas Lamanauskas, in Geneva.

Tijani stated in the blogpost: “Following the recent cuts to submarine cables off the coast of West Africa, I spoke about my desire to initiate dialogue on building resilience in our digital infrastructure.

“So, I was pleased to meet with Tomas Lamanauskas, the Deputy Secretary General of the ITU, in Geneva, today (Wednesday) to kickstart action on organising regional and global efforts for the protection of submarine cables and other digital infrastructure.”

He equally noted: “The Deputy Secretary-General and I discussed the review of global laws with relevant government and private sector stakeholders to ensure the enhancement of global digital resilience plans.

“We also spoke about building investment models for expanding Broadband penetration on a global scale, with Nigeria’s Broadband Alliance and Fibre fund as potential case studies for other global markets.”

The Minister also explained: “As an immediate action point, we will be engaging African countries and partners at a stakeholder roundtable in Abuja, to chart a path towards building resilience in our digital infrastructure, which remains a critical backbone for national development.”

It is recalled the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) last week had alerted telecoms consumers to disruption in voice and data services occasioned by identified subsea cable cuts in the Atlantic Ocean offshore Cote d’Ivoire, along the coast of West Africa.

The unexpected situation had paralysed digital transactions and Internet communications for millions of individual and corporate consumers of digital services on the country’s ecosystem.

The NCC, as the foremost telecoms sector regulatory Commission, however, notified consumers Monday this week, that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) had gradually restored voice and data services.

The Commission also noted that MNOs assured that efforts are in top gear to complete the restoration of full services to both individual and corporate clients across the West African country.

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