Communications boost for aid workers in Nigeria


Boko Haram disrupting communications in Borno, Nigeria

from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
Nigeria Bureau
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – HUMANITARIAN agencies responding to the banditry in northeast Nigeria can now access the internet and other communication services again three years after Islamist militants destroyed their facility.

The militants, said to be the Boko Haram, attacked the humanitarians’ Security Operations Centre (SOC) in Dikwa in the Borno State in February 2021.

Equipment was critically damaged.

The Emergency Telecommunications Sector (ETS), which also concluded a project to shield the aid workers from rising cyber crime, has installed a hybrid solar system and security communications system at the SOC.

The Resulting lack of power was disrupting communications services.

“Following the successful installation of the hybrid solar system, internet and security communications are now running 24/7 to keep humanitarians safe and connected,” said Patrick Midy, ETS regional coordinator.

Borno is the state worst affected by the insurgency perpetrated by Boko Haram and its splinter group, the Islamic State- West Africa Province (ISWAP).

This past weekend, a spate of suicide bombings left more than 30 people dead in the town of Gwoza.

Telecommunications is crucial for humanitarian responders.

Apart from attacks by militants, according to ETS, they face cyber security threats rampant in the country.

ETS has installed firewall devices at all humanitarian hubs in the region.

These are in Bama, Banki, Damasak, Dikwa, Gwoza, Maiduguri, Monguno and Ngala.

“The new firewall system will keep humanitarians and their data safe amid a surge in cyber-attacks across the country in 2024,” Midy said.

In June, the ETS provided data connectivity to 1 070 users from 114 organizations, comprising 15 United Nations agencies and 99 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

In total, some 1 628 humanitarian staff from UN agencies and NGOs are using the ETS Very High Frequency (VHF) radio services for staff safety and security in the field.

– CAJ News

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