Why NCC Is Prioritising Clean Energy Transition-Adeleke Adewolu
By Angeline Mgbele, Bureau Chief, North
In what appeared to be a reenactment of Edward Patey’s Questions for Today, The Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management(ECSM) at the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), Adeleke Adewole, explained to the Commission’s stakeholders why consumers occupied a pride of place in the Commission’s scheme of things generally and its decision to zero in on clean energy transition to mark this year’s World Consumer Right Day(WCRD). The theme of WCRD 2023 is “Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transition“.
“The World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is undoubtedly one of the most important dates in the NCC’s annual calendar of events. It is a day we set aside to celebrate our most important stakeholder group, that is, our Consumers. This year, we are pivoting our celebrations around a theme which allows us to design more environmentally sustainable service models so that we can truly serve our consumer better, and I am indeed pleased to welcome you all to this opening session,” stated Adewole.
According to the NCC ECSM, this theme allowed the Commission to carefully examine the unintended side-effects of the critical social infrastructure on our environment. He explained that the Nigerian telecoms industry today boasted over 226million voice customers and over 156 million internet customers as at January 31, 2023 saying these consumers leveraged on communications infrastructure for social interaction, health service, access to education, banking, etc.
As consumer volumes and service diversity continued to grow, Adewole counseled, network operators had to roll-out more infrastructure for coverage in new, mostly rural areas, and for network expansion in already saturated urban markets adding emerging technologies like 5th Generation (5G) mobile services would also require more infrastructure. According to him, these infrastructure components were mostly powered by fossil fuels to ensure 100 per cent availability.
However, the NCC ECSM avoided pre-empting the planned discussions about the environmental impacts of these activities, but rather raised some pertinent questions:
- Are there more environmentally conscious means by which we can power network infrastructure and reduce our carbon footprint?
- Telecoms infrastructure have helped to reduce other environment-impacting activities such as travel – can we quantify these benefits and do they offset the negative impacts?
- Have we convinced everyone about the safety of electromagnetic emissions?
- Can we find a balance between environmentally-friendly network operations and cheaper services; or do we have to choose one over the other?
- How can we improve the quality of the environment through our network services and how can we grow public consciousness about responsible services using telecoms infrastructure?
In conclusion, Adewole said that as responsible stakeholders, “we must find answers to these and other nagging questions and I am pleased that the organizers of WCRD 2023 have carefully designed a programme of events that will help us do just that. I therefore encourage you to give your full and undivided attention to the speeches, presentations and discussions that will shortly follow. I also encourage you to participate fully in the activities lined up for this year’s celebration. “