Communications minister orders NCC to sanction culpable mobile operators on USSD service charge

Mobile phones [Photo: Tranungkite.net]

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to sanction mobile network operators in the country making illegal deductions from subscribers.

This was stated in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday by the minister’s spokesperson, Uwa Suleiman.

Mr Pantami had ordered the immediate stoppage of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data deductions by network providers in Nigeria.

While reacting to public outcry on the charges on Twitter, the minister had said his ministry was not aware of the plan by network providers to charge users for USSD transactions.

“We have directed the Nigerian Communication Commission to ask MTN to suspend the plan.
“We are not aware of it officially. We will investigate and make sure the right thing is done.”

“The attention of the Ministry been drawn to the activities of some Mobile Network Operators who, in spite of the earlier directive suspending the planned Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) access charge on banking services, have continued the illegal deduction from subscribers,” the statement said.

It said the minister had been inundated with allegations of deductions by some Mobile Network Operators before the directive was issued and those who continued to engage in it.

“This also serves as a notice to the general public that anyone in possession of evidence of charges after the Honourable Minister’s directive had taken effect, should forward same to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for further action.”

The statement said the procedure should be given utmost priority, as the government would “not condone any form of indiscipline and injustice.”

It will be recalled that the minister had, in an earlier directive suspended the planned access service charge of N4:00 per 20 seconds by telecoms operators in Nigeria.

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