Nigeria: Emergency Telecoms Sector Activated

Following an initial assessment in September and a worsening humanitarian situation the Emergency Telecommunications (ET) Sector was officially activated in North-Eastern Nigeria on 23 November. 

​In Nigeria, all clusters are being referred to as sectors. The ETC is therefore operating as the ET Sector with all project plans, appeals, services and deployments adhering to established procedures. 

The conflict in the north-east of the country, which started in 2009, has resulted in widespread displacement and a growing humanitarian crisis. Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have been identified as the hardest-hit states and where ET Sector will focus its activities up until the end of 2017. The plan is to provide security telecommunications and Internet connectivity services in 11x humanitarian hubs that will be established across the north-east. The first is due to be opened in Gwoza in early December by which time the first shipment of ET Sector equipment will be in Abuja, packed onto a truck and moved to be deployed to remote sites.

As global lead of the ETC, WFP is coordinating the ET Sector in Nigeria, responding with government, private sector and humanitarian organisations to ensure a coordinated response. Pastor Lovo, from WFP’s Fast IT and Telecommunications Emergency and Support Team (FITTEST) is on the ground in Abuja as ET Sector Coordinator in the country. 

In such a complex emergency with very severe security risks, the need for reliable radio services is crucial for staff going out to the deep field. Outside Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, there is no mobile coverage as the communications towers have been severely damaged by the ongoing conflict. 

ET Sector Nigeria is appealing for US$7.2 million until the end of 2017, to provide shared communications services across the north-east of the country. The ET Sector is grateful for a contribution of US$1.13million from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). 

Organisations responding to humanitarian IT needs are invited to attend the Nigeria Telecommunications Working Group and share information with the ET Sector to support a coordinated emergency operation -