Thirty-one million, one hundred and sixty thousand Nigerians live in areas without telecommunication coverage, according to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
The ministry revealed this in the appendix of its ‘Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025’ document.
According to the ministry, unserved areas are locations without any service provider coverage.
It added that in 2013 there were 207 clusters without network coverage which reduced to 114 in 2019.
It said, “Broadband coverage to unserved areas is critical to ensure delivery of quality internet services and to provide access to enhanced economic and social opportunities such as financial inclusion, and access to government services including security agencies for every Nigerian.
“Key access gaps have been addressed through intervention programs implemented to ensure the unserved (no operator present) and underserved (areas with only one operator) receive the benefits of broadband connectivity, but there is more to be achieved.
“In 2013, 207 clusters were unserved per USPF; by Q4, 2019 this number had been reduced to 114 and was achieved via USPF support in providing funding for connectivity to 93 unserved clusters over six years.”
According to the World Bank, there were 206.14 million Nigerians in 2020. This means that 15.12 per cent of Nigerians do not have access to telecommunication services.
According to information from the NNBP, there are 1,954,540 unserved people in Jigawa; 1,639,631 in Kebbi; 1,872,307 in Kaduna; 1,777,778 in Kano; 2,120,389 in Katsina; 1,831,880 in Sokoto; 2,032,764 in Zamfara; 1,430,991 in Adamawa; 2,630,828 in Bauchi; 2,249,301 in Borno; 843,134 in Gombe; 1,100,456 in Taraba; 1,647,475 in Yobe; 13,000 in Ekiti; and 992 in Lagos.
In Ondo, there are 142,123 living in unserved areas; 90,400 in Ogun; 45,926 in Osun: 466,665 in Oyo; 12,561 in Akwa-Ibom; 114,148 in Bayelsa; 388,333 in Cross River; 145,057 in Delta; 140,709 in Edo; 123,815 in Rivers; 1,427,445 in Benue; 191,277 in Abuja; 629,568 in Kogi; 204,981 in Kwara; 692,028 in Nasarawa; 1,704,560 in Niger; 1,175,022 in Plateau; 14,970 in Abia; 55,904 in Anambra; 166,983 in Ebonyi; 77,405 in Enugu; and 2,428 in Imo.
According to data from the document, 93.58 per cent (29,156,355) of unserved people live in the north while 6.42 per cent (2,001,419) of unserved people live in the south.
According to the ministry, the absence of telecommunication coverage has provided a cover for criminal activities and insecurity in these unserved areas.
Recently, the Federal Government disclosed that there are 301 local governments in the nation without Internet access.