Pantami Fails To Secure Executive Order to Protect Telecom Infrastructure, leads various reactions from operators

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…minister is a far cry from the expectation of the Cybercrime Act and the ICT industry.

The minister of communications and digital economy, Dr Isa Pantami got from President Buhari, instead of executive order was an approval for the provision of security for telecommunications infrastructure nationwide.


The president had promised on January 28, 2020 when  the Chairman, MTN Group, Mr. MCEBISI Jonas and President and CEO, Mr. Rob Shutter visited him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja that he would soon sing an executive order to protect telecom infrastructure.

 

Dr Isa Pantami has failed to get President Muhammadu Buhari sign an executive order designating telecom infrastructure critical national infrastructure will create setback to the telecommunications industry.

There is difference between an executive order for protection of telecom infrastructure to mere the directive to security agencies to protect telecoms infrastructure which is didn’t have vital words for business purposes.

READ ALSO THIS: Pantami Hails ICT’s 14.07% Contribution to GDP

“We would like to highlight to further spur the Minister to work more towards securing an Executive Order for the industry…which is now very critical to the national economy as COVID-19 has shown judged from how many people are depending on telecoms/digital platforms to go about by their daily personal and official tasks…The industry needs the Executive Order…”

The Nigerian Cybercrime Act 2015 gives the President the power to designate certain computer systems, networks and information infrastructure vital to the national security of Nigeria or the economic and social well-being of its citizens, as constituting Critical National Information Infrastructure, and to implement procedures, guidelines, and conduct audits in furtherance of that.

The Nigerian Cybercrime Act 2015 prescribes the death penalty for an offence committed against a system or network that has been designated critical national infrastructure of Nigeria that results in the death of an individual (amongst other punishments for lesser crimes).

 

You must have heard that the President gave approval for a directive to security agencies to protect telecoms infrastructure. This is not different from what we had on ground – a directive secured by the NCC and collaboration the NCC has had with various organisations to strengthen protection of telecom infrastructure in the country. That has been the status quo…

 

But the truth now is that despite the Minister’s pontification that he would facilitate the signing of an Executive Order by the President.

This is because it was a Directive that he got. With this, the story should be something like…

 

 

A stakeholder when contacted for his comment on tne new directives said despite minister talking up and down, what he got was a directive to security agencies to protect telecoms infrastructure which is not different from what the NCC has on ground till today..

 

Whereas, Executive Order is what the industry needed which will have legal teeth and force of law on any criminals Act, if truly telecoms industry is to be well protected.

 

He cited ATCON, ALTON, Omobola Johnson, former Minister of CommTech and other stakeholders have advocated Executive Oder and the Minister had also pontificated that he was working with President to have an Executive Order on telecoms protection signed.

 

It is an unfortunate development for our quest for digital economy….

 

He further said, but what was announced yesterday by the minister is a far cry from the expectation of the Cybercrime Act and the ICT industry. An executive order by the president would have activated the Cybercrime Act provisions. The Executive Order is what the industry needed to give legal teeth and force of law to the protection of telecom infrastructure.

Though the in the statement contained the office of the National Security Adviser, Defense Headquarters, Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security Services and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, have been notified of the president’s directive, the directive does not have force of law. But the statement didn’t include power of prosecution any criminal Act.

The NCC and the police already have a similar arrangement, such as the one announced by the minister for the protection of telecom infrastructure. The arrangement was put in place when NCC Executive Vice Chairman led other directors to the office of the Inspector-General of Police in December 2018.  Where, the IG then, pledge at the meeting, to collaborate on vital issues concerning security of telecoms infrastructure and capacity building for modern policing which the IGP.

The new wave of securing critical assets like that of Telecom infrastructure is just beyond mere directives by mr president citing several examples of other countries that have signed such order to protect their national infrastructure.

READ ALSO THIS: President Buhari Approves Dr Pantami’s Request for the Provision of Security for Telecommunications Infrastructure Nationwide

To mention but few are The United States’ Executive Order EO 13010 was signed in July 15, I996 to protect its infrastructure, among them telecoms as national infrastructure that require special protection from threats of any kind and South Africa since last year December 2019 when President Cyril Ramaphosa assented to the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, followed the global which repeals the apartheid-era National Keypoints Act of 1980 and provides for public-private cooperation in the identification and protection of critical infrastructure.

AmehNews recall that industry bodies who are active players and the regulator have been calling for an executive order, since 2015, that would designate ‘Telecom Infrastructure as Critical National Security and Economic Infrastructure’ as prescribed in the Cybercrime Act, 2015. The majority of the operators are confused as to what next level? Will the much expected executive order comes later or not?

 

Still with reactions from the development another stakeholder pointed out that yet, in the statement, the Minister is already asking the operators to reduce their data process because he was able to security a *directive* instead of an *Executive Order* which is what the industry needed…

https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/e-learning/

In the new directive now, the Minister only got approval for increased protection for telecom infrastructure as the President directed the ONSA, DSS, Police, DHQ and NSCDC to ensure more protection of telecom infrastructure…

 

In strong term and with one direction, all most key stakeholders in the telecommunications industry prepared to seek Executive Order document which mr president’s promised to the Chairman, MTN Group, Mr. MCEBISI Jonas and President and CEO, Mr. Rob Shutter during visit to the Presidential Villa, Abuja that “he would soon sing an executive order to protect telecom infrastructure”
.

 


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