From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
As Nigeria prepares for the 5 generation technology auction next week and its subsequent deployment early 2022, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard has warned the federal government about endorsing unreliable telecommunications companies for the project.
According to the US Ambassador, permitting untrusted telecommunications suppliers to participate in or control any part of a 5g network would amount to undesirable risks and threats to national security, critical infrastructure, privacy and respect for human rights.
Leonard made the statements at the 2021 International Legislative-Stakeholders’ Conference on Digital Technology And Cybersecurity organised by the Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime in partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Speaking at the conference themed “The Digital Theater and the future of Nigeria”, she stressed the need for governments, telecom operators and network users to prioritize security when deploying their 5g networks.
She said, “A key aspect of safeguarding the security of our digital technologies is ensuring that countries and citizens can trust the equipment and software they are using. This is especially true as guaranteed that new 5g technology and infrastructure will not introduce risks that threaten national security, personal privacy or human rights. This is a particularly timely issue for Nigeria, as Nigeria prepares for next week’s 5g spectrum auction and looks to roll out Nigeria’s 5g networks after the New Year.
“We believe it is essential that governments, telecom operators and network users prioritize security when building out their 5g networks. National measures must be crafted to mitigate significant security risks from high risk suppliers regardless of national origin by precluding such suppliers from providing equipment software and services to 5g network infrastructure.
“Allowing untrusted telecommunications suppliers to participate in or control any part of a 5g network creates unacceptable risks to national security, critical infrastructure, privacy and respect for human rights.
“The United States is committed to promoting a vibrant digital economy worldwide that enables all citizens to benefit from the promise of secure 5g and future generation wireless networks.