Don't Miss

Why we sanction telecoms operators – NCC

By on February 6, 2016

The Nigerian Communications Commission uses sanctions to ensure that telecommunications operators comply with regulations, guidelines and directives, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, has said.

Danbatta, who spoke at the first Annual Conference on Combatting Financial Fraud, Cybercrime and other Cross-border Crimes in Abuja on Thursday, was represented by the Head, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye.

He said in any environment where investment, innovation and issues of competition were rooted, there was bound to be contraventions, thus the need to issue sanctions and enforce compliance.

Danbatta said, “The NCC dutifully employs sanctions and enforcement mechanisms to regulate the industry. The Nigerian Communications Act mandated the NCC to enforce compliance by any means lawful in the event of contravention of the Act, or any of its regulations, guidelines or the terms and conditions of an issued licence or direction.

“Sanction here refers to either financial sanction or criminal sanction. It may include but not limited to suspension or revocation of licence, criminal or civil proceedings against any person who committed the contravention, and any administrative action by the NCC. It is meant to deter wrongdoing.

“Other enforcement measures may include sealing and confiscation of equipment, desist order, forfeiture, and denial of regulatory services etc. Accordingly, effective exercise of enforcement powers and application of appropriate sanctions by the regulator against erring service providers is solely meant to sanitise the telecommunications industry and provide good playing field for investment.”

Apart from sanctions and enforcement, Danbatta said the commission had the powers to formally request any service provider to assist it or any other authority in preventing the commission or attempted commission of any offence.

When asked questions specifically on the N1.04tn fine imposed on MTN Nigeria for its failure to properly register 5.1 million subscribers, Danbatta declined to comment on the grounds that the issue was in court.

However, a former Executive Chairman of the commission, Dr. Bashir Gwandu, who chaired the session, said excessive fines on the operators had the capacity to discourage investment in an economy.