The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has disclosed that the Fifth Generation (5G) network will be deployed in the country by January 2022 and will assist in the surveillance against destruction of public infrastructures. 

Pantami made this known in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital during a town hall meeting to address the vandalism of power and communications facilities. 

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the event was organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture, was attended by Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno and his Deputy, Mr Usman Kadafur and other stakeholders. 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed led the other ministers who were panelists at the town hall meeting.

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 improve monitoring against criminal elements damaging public infrastructure across the Nigeria, other measures should be erected to arrest them and bring them to book.

The minister revealed that there were over 50,000 telecommunication sites across the country, which made it hard to man manually except through 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 fiber cuts, access denial and theft leading to service disruption in the affected areas

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

He lamented the situation where telecoms installations that were vandalised in the attacks by terrorists, had not been replaced as a result of the lingering insecurity and tensions in parts of the North-East.

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

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