Senate Confirms Adeleke Adewolu As NCC Executive Commissioner

Failed Data Tariff Increment Decision Was To Protect Consumers – NCC‎

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Adeleke Adewolu as Executive Commissioner on the governing board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

President Buhari had earlier sent the nomination of Ademolu to the Senate for confirmation.

After Adewolu’s appointment, some lawmakers expressed concern that there is no member of governing board of the NCC from the southeast.

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Senate President Ahmed Lawan then asked the committee to find out why there is no one from the southeast on the governing board.

The Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe in response said the former board member from the southeast resigned his appointment and President Buhari needs to nominate his replacement.

Buhari in the letter nominating Adewolu said: “In accordance with section 8(1) of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s Act, 2003, I hereby present Adeleke Moronfolu Adewolu for confirmation as Executive Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission by the distinguished Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“While hoping that this request will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the distinguished Senate, please accept, Mr. Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”

Adewolu replaces Sunday Dare as the South West Zone’s representative on the board of the NCC.

Dare is now the Minister of Youth and Sports.

FG Gives NCC Deadline To Deactivate 2.24 Million SIM Cards

The Federal Government has issued an ultimatum to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to deactivate all improperly registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards by September 25.

Minister of Communications, Ibrahim Isa Pantami, gave the deadline on Tuesday when he met with the management of the telecom regulator in Abuja.

“We want to make sure that by 25th of September 2019, we don’t have a single incomplete registration of SIM in Nigeria,” Pantami said.

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The Minister revealed that 2.42 million SIM cards are yet to properly registered and want the commission to ensure that the telecommunication companies rectify them within one week.

He, however, commended them for rectifying about 6.8million SIM cards out of 9.2 million that was reported when he assumed office as Minister, less than a month ago.

Improper registration of the SIM cards, according to the Minister, have security implications on the country.

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For Etisalat

NCC, CBN Get Reprieve For EtisalatThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have succeeded in halting an attempt by Etisalat’s creditors to take over the company.

A statement by the spokesman for NCC, Tony Ojobo, said reprieve came for the mobile network operator during a meeting held on Friday.

According to the statement, receivership was completely taken off the table in a meeting that was very productive and constructive.

“The meeting, which held at the CBN Office in Lagos, had the consortium of banks being owed and Etisalat in attendance. The banks and the mobile network operator agreed to concrete actions that will bring all parties closest to a resolution.

“The CBN and NCC were able to secure for Etisalat the necessary oxygen to enable it continue to meet urgent operational expenses.

“CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who chaired the meeting, was firm in declaring what needed to be done by both parties towards a quick resolution. The NCC equally made it clear that everything necessary must be done to protect the 23 million Etisalat subscribers and also protect the telecom industry to prevent potential investors from developing cold feet.

“Meanwhile, in a renewed effort to ensure that Etisalat remains in business while the consortium of banks meet their obligations to their customers, a meeting will hold on March 16 to agree on a payment restructuring path going forward.

“The NCC will lead the CBN in a possible crucial meeting with Etisalat’s shareholders anytime soon,” the statement read.

Lawmakers Question Basis For MTN Fine Review

Lawmakers Question Basis For MTN Fine Review Nigeria’s House of Representatives is questioning the legal basis for the review of the 1.04 trillion Naira fine imposed on a South African telecommunication company, MTN, for failing to deactivate unregistered SIM cards.

After considering a motion on the matter on Wednesday, the House resolved to investigate the extent to which the company violated the provisions of the law and if the company should escape criminal liability for the alleged death of over 10,000 Nigerians.

The lawmakers also frowned at the tone of a letter written to the House Committee on Communication, declining an invitation to appear before the Committee and referring it to other government agencies.

They queried the role of the Attorney General of the Federation for taking over the negotiations with MTN without including the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The motion, however, called for an investigation into the matter. The Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, then put the prayers to a vote.

The 1.04 trillion Naira fine was imposed on MTN for violating some aspects of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s regulation.

The fine has been reduced to 780 billion Naira.

NCC Lifts Regulatory Suspension On MTN

NCCThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has lifted the suspension of regulatory service on MTN Nigeria which was slammed on the Telecom firm in October last year for failure to deactivate unregistered sim cards.

A statement by the Johannesburg-based Telecoms company, said the move would allow the company to seek approvals for promotions and other plans to grow in Nigeria.

In the meantime, the House of Representatives has summoned the Chief Executive Officer of the MTN Nigeria to appear before the Committee on Communications or face arrest.

The House Committee reached the resolution after considering a letter by the company asking for a referral to the relevant government agencies who are already handling the ‘amicable settlement’.

The committee is yet to decide on the date when the MTN boss should appear.

NCC To Set Pricing On Fixed Transmission Service

NCC on TransmissionThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced plans to set a cost based pricing for fixed transmission service.

The NCC said that the cost based pricing would ensure competition in transmission capacity market in the telecommunications industry.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta, made the plans known on Monday at a meeting with operators in the industry in Abuja.

Professor Danbatta noted that access to affordable fixed and mobile broadband in Nigeria was only possible with healthy competition among operators irrespective of their size.

He said that there was the need to encourage massive infrastructure building to simulate seamless broadband penetration that drives technology, innovation and overall productivity of the economy.

Fine Settlement: NCC Affirms Receipt Of 50bn Naira From MTN

MTNThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has affirmed the Federal Government’s receipt of 50 billion Naira towards settlement of the fine imposed on MTN Nigeria Communications Limited by the Commission.

The commission also affirmed the withdrawal of a suit involving the MTN, NCC and HAGF.

In a statement, the NCC’s Director, Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, said that the official information to the Commission to that effect, was received from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, on Monday.

“The amount was an unconditional good faith payment, on the basis that this sum would be applied towards eventual settlement agreement for payment of the fine imposed by the Commission, where the ongoing negotiations between the Federal Government and the company reaches a final resolution,” the statement by Mr Ojobo read.

The Federal Government’s team for the negotiations is being led by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, while the MTN team is led by a former U.S Attorney General, and Head of Covington & Burling LLP, Washington DC, Mr Eric H. Holder, Jr.

According to the NCC’s statement, the receipt of the amount, and withdrawal of the suit is without prejudice to the final decision of government on the terms of payment being proposed by the company.

On the basis of out of court settlement, the Federal Government team, is expected to deliberate on the merits and demerits of the terms of payment of the fine imposed on the MTN by the Commission for its failure to deactivate invalid SIM Cards as directed by the Commission, an act the NCC said contravened the provisions of the regulation on SIM Card Registration.

NCC Fines MTN and GLO Over Porting Violations      

NCCThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has fined MTN and Globacom a total of 34 million naira for violating the rules and regulations guiding the mobile number portability scheme.

This is contained in the regulator’s 2015 fourth quarter compliance monitoring and enforcement reports.

According to the NCC, Globacom was fined 22 million naira, while MTN would pay 12 million naira for the infractions.

The report also noted that Globacom violated a timer validation regarding 11 individuals and one corporate port requests.

The commission says all the timer violations were undergoing enforcement actions, adding that this move is consistent with Section 89 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.

NCC Restates Plan To Sustain CDMA Networks

NCCThe acquisition of Visafone by MTN is approved by the Nigerian Communications Commission in order to save Nigeria’s Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks.

NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta delivered this update in Abuja.

According to him, the NCC plans to sustain its revival effort on moribund CDMA networks to secure the investments in the sector.

He added that about 2.5 million jobs have been created by the telecoms sector over the years. He estimates that the sector contributed 9.5% to the GDP in 2014.

Don’t Place Profits Above Security Needs, Buhari Warns Telecom Companies

muhammadu buhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has urged telecommunication companies operating in Nigeria not to place their desire for huge profits above the security needs of the country.

In a statement by the President’s spokesperson, the President said that telecommunication companies operating in Nigeria must adhere to the rules and guidelines of the Nigerian Communications Commission in this regard.

He made the statement, remarking that the registration of all mobile phone users without exception would help the security agencies to pre-empt terrorist attacks.

“Deadly Blows”

President Buhari was speaking at an interactive forum with members of the Nigerian Community in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

He stressed that the war against terrorism could only be won with collective effort and a commitment by all stakeholders to work in unison to halt the scourge.

President Buhari further assured the gathering that his administration would deal decisively with the seeming resurgence of oil theft, pipeline vandalism and insecurity in the Niger Delta.

Declaring that the Nigerian Armed Forces had already dealt “deadly blows” on Boko Haram, the President said that the activities of oil thieves and vandals would soon be brought to an end.

“The oil thieves and abductors are a less problematic target. We will re-organise and deal with them”, he said.

President Buhari assured Nigerians at the interactive session that his administration’s war against corruption would continue to be vigorously pursued.

The President pledged that more persons, who have abused the public trust, would be exposed and brought to justice soon.

He emphasised his administration’s commitment to re-establishing former standards of accountability and probity in the management of public funds which were jettisoned under past administrations.

The President appealed for more patience and understanding from Nigerians, as his administration takes steps to safeguard the economy from the shock of falling oil prices.

“In the face of our new economic reality of dwindling oil prices, there are a number of things we can really do without, to preserve our economy.

“We must develop the capacity to feed ourselves and we should be spending our resources on real development projects, not luxuries,” he stressed.

NCC Battles MTN In Court

NCCThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss or decline hearing in the suit filed by MTN Nigeria Communications Limited challenging the 1.04 trillion Naira fine imposed on it by the commission.

In a motion on notice filed through its lawyers, the NCC asked the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction or send it to the Abuja division of the court.

The commission also argued that the suit was wrongly filed in Lagos, noting that the subject of dispute took place in Abuja, while the two respondents in the suit, the NCC and the Attorney General of the Federation are also based in Abuja.

MTN in its suit, which is yet to be heard, is contending that it was not afforded enough time to comply with the NCC directive.

The telecommunication company also said that the commission did not give it fair hearing before hurriedly announcing the sanction.

MTN Fine: NCC Says It Acted In Public Interest

MTNThe Nigerian Communications Commission has defended the fine of 1.04 trillion slammed on MTN Nigeria explaining it was done in the interest of the public.

This is the first time the NCC has commented on this issue since slapping the telecoms firm with the fine following overwhelming evidence of non-compliance and disregard to the rules of engagement by MTN.

MTN, in a letter of November 2, 2015 admitted the infraction and pleaded for leniency. The commission has acknowledged this and is looking into their plea without any prejudice to the fine. The fine remains but the appeal and other engagements with MTN may affect the payment deadline.

In a statement by its Director, Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, the commission added that it has adopted smart regulation in its oversight function in the industry, insisting sanctions are the last resort after all overtures fail but that this does not in any way undermine industry standards and the interest of investors.

NCC Statement

Following the sanctions placed on MTN Nigeria, by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), members of the public have expressed diverse interest as to what actually transpired.

The fine was a result of violation of Section 20(1) of the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulation of 2011.

Section 20 (1) of Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations 2011 states that:

“Any licensee who activates or fails to deactivate a subscription medium in violation of any provision of these Regulations is liable to a penalty of N200,000.00 for each unregistered but activated subscription medium.”

The fine of N1.04Trillion on MTN Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) was done in the interest of the public which has been at the receiving end of security challenges.

Consequent upon the overwhelming evidence of non-compliance, and obvious disregard to the rule of engagement by MTN, the NCC had no choice but to impose the sanctions.

MTN, in a letter of November 2, 2015 admitted the infraction and pleaded for leniency.  The Commission has acknowledged this and is looking into their plea without any prejudice to the fine. The fine remains but the appeal and other engagements with MTN may affect the payment deadline.

The fine that was imposed on MTN was the second within two months after the operators were given a seven-day ultimatum to deactivate all unregistered and improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Cards. While others complied, MTN did not.

On August 4, 2015, at a meeting of all the representatives of the Mobile Network Operators (MNO), with NCC, major security challenges through preregistered, unregistered and improperly registered SIM Cards topped the agenda after which Operators were given the ultimatum to deactivate such within seven days.

On August 14, 2015, three days after the ultimatum expired, NCC carried out a network audit, while other Operators complied with the directive, to deactivate the improperly registered SIM Cards, MTN showed no sign of compliance at all.

Please recall that four (4) Operators; MTN, Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat, were sanctioned in August for none compliance of the directive to deactivate the improperly registered SIM Cards.  MTN got a fine of N102.2Million, Globacom N7.4Million, Etisalat N7Million and Airtel N3.8Million fine.  Others complied while MTN flouted the fine.

Based on the report of the compliance Audit Team, an Enforcement Team which visited MTN from September 2 – 4, 2015 wherein MTN admitted that the Team confirmed that 5.2million improperly registered SIM Cards were still left active on their network; hence, a contravention of the Regulations was established.

Consistent with the Commission’s enforcement process, MTN was by a letter dated October 5, 2015, given notice to state why it should not be sanctioned in line with the Regulations for failure to deactivate improperly registered SIM Cards that were found to be active at the time of enforcement team’s visit of September 15, 2015.

On October 19, 2015, the Commission received and reviewed MTN’s response and found no convincing evidence why it should not be sanctioned for the established violations.

Accordingly, by a letter dated October 20, 2015 the Commission conveyed appropriate sanctions to MTN in accordance with Regulations 20(1) of the Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulation 2011, to pay the Sum of N200,000.00 only for each of the 5.2million improperly registered SIM Cards.

The statement further averred that:

In order to ensure proper identification of telephone subscribers with their biometric data and in line with international best practice, the Commission came up with a framework for the registration of telephone subscribers in Nigeria.  (Nigerian Communications Commission Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations 2011).

The above Regulations were developed with the full participation of all key industry Stakeholders including all Mobile Network Operators (MNO) in 2011.

The Commission on its part has a statutory responsibility to monitor and enforce compliance to the rules. More so, when national security is at stake.

The statement explained that, National interest is paramount because when lives are lost they cannot be replaced.

As a responsible Regulator, the NCC will not stand by and watch Rules and Regulations for Engagement being flouted by any Operator.

The Commission has adopted a smart regulation in its oversight function in the industry, hence it has always weighed the implications of sanctions that is why it had to place the appropriate sanction accordingly.

The NCC statement further said that sanctions are the last resort after all overtures fail but this does not in any way undermine Industry Standards and the interest of Investors.

Tony Ojobo
Director, Public Affairs