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Nigeria seeks joint protection of undersea cables across West Africa  



Nigeria has called for a coordinated and multilateral approach by the West African region to protect shared telecommunications infrastructure and diversify connectivity to ensure uninterruptible connections. 

This followed the recent undersea cable cuts that disrupted connectivity in many countries in the region. 

 The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, made the submission in a statement delivered at the 21st West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly (WATRA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) which held in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from the 19th to 22nd March 2024. 

According to a statement from the Commission,  Maida, whose message was delivered at the WATRA AGM by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, Nnenna Ukoha, stated that the recent submarine cable cuts that resulted in nationwide outages on multiple networks in 12 African countries has 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, to buttress the call 

Highlighting the benefits of a secure telecom infrastructure across the region, the NCC boss 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. 

 The West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly was established in 2002 as a common platform for national telecommunication regulatory authorities in 16 member states to promote the adoption of regulations that stimulate investment in telecommunication infrastructure to deliver more affordable, accessible, faster and secure communication services to citizens. 

At the 21st WATRA Annual General Meeting, issues pertaining to accessible and affordable telecommunication services in the sub-region were discussed, including improved consumer protection, quality of service, roaming and conflict resolution for consumers.