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FG plans joint cable protection, disruption lingers in six countries


The Federal Government has issued a call for a unified effort among West African nations to protect shared telecommunications infrastructure, following a recent internet outage that affected the region.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC Aminu Maida, made this call during the 21st West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly Annual General Meeting held in Freetown, Sierra Leone, weekend.

This was disclosed in a statement on Sunday evening by the Director, Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka.

A major internet disruption on March 14th impacted West and Central Africa, leading to failures in multiple subsea cables and causing widespread disruption to online services, including banking operations.

The EVC’s message was delivered at the WATRA AGM by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, Nnenna Ukoha.

He stated that the recent submarine cable cuts that resulted in nationwide outages on multiple networks in 12 African countries have raised the urgent need for the subregion to establish a mechanism to protect itself from damage to submarine infrastructure and its attendant impact on the subregion.

Maida referred to a report by Cloudflare, an IT service management firm, which indicates that about six countries, including four West African countries, were still suffering from the outages caused by the submarine cable cuts.

“Securing telecom infrastructure is paramount for fostering foreign direct investment and enhancing investor confidence in the West African sub-region. The reliability and resilience of telecommunications networks are crucial factors that investors consider when evaluating regional opportunities.

“By ensuring the security of these vital assets, we can attract more investment, spur economic growth, and enhance our competitiveness on the global stage.

“A secure telecoms infrastructure not only facilitates efficient communication and connectivity but also signals a commitment to safeguarding critical assets essential for business operations. This assurance can significantly boost investor confidence and create a conducive environment for sustainable economic development,” he said.

According to him, “the impact of events like cable cuts highlights the need for a coordinated, multilateral approach to protecting shared infrastructure across our member nations.”

Maida therefore proposed “the urgent need to set up a framework for joint monitoring, risk mitigation, and emergency response procedures for the submarine cables that pass through the sub-region.

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