Suspected vandals have cut off phone services to Nigeria’s presidential villa in the capital city of Abuja, after severing cables belonging to the nation’s main telecommunications gateway Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), the company said in a statement.
The disruption in services also affected the defence headquarters and the state security service, among other sensitive areas.
‘This is a worrisome development to NITEL because of the sensitive nature of the duties and responsibilities of the affected customers,” Spokesman for the partially-privatised firm, Bala Abdulkadir, said.
”Also, the target of such acts seems to be sensitive institutions and agencies in the capital city,” he added.
Abdulkadir said repair work had started on the vandalised cables, and sought the assistance of the citizens in providing information to security agencies to nab the cable thieves.
Vandals seeking the highly-priced telecommunication cables have routinely disrupted phone services by cutting such underground cables for sale.
Last year, NITEL cables serving the police headquarters, particularly the office of the Inspector-General of Police, in Abuja were also vandalised.
The successful liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in Nigeria has provided the citizens with alternatives to NITEL, a former monopoly that could only provide less than 400,000 telephone lines at its peak.
Now, private telephone operators and providers of the global system of mobile telecommunications offer a range of services that has eclipsed those provided by NITEL, whose fortunes have not improved despite its partial privatisation. Panapress .