The federal government has granted the request of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) for an extension of the five days ultimatum issued it by the government to resolve issues of illegal data deduction in the country.
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, granted the extension with the understanding that the commission will resolve these issues within the shortest time possible.
The commission had asked for more time to enable it properly re-strategise and fully implement long term solutions as directed, to the challenges.
In a statement sent to Premium Times by the spokesperson to Mr Pantami, Uwa Suleiman, on Saturday, said the appeal was contained in a letter sent by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the commission, Umar Danbatta, to Mr Pantami.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how 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 said his ministry was not aware of the plan by network providers to charge users for USSD transactions.
Mr Pantami said the government was aware of the challenges the mobile operators experience in their business such as vandalism and issues of Right of Way (ROW).
“The way we pursue the mobile operators to do what is right, we should also work together to protect their interests and resolve the challenges operators face,” he said.
“The main agenda of NCC is to protect the interests of customers and our priority is to protect Nigerians. It is our collective responsibility to make sure we give 100 per cent support to Mr President to deliver his key mandate,” he said
The commission said it has risen up to the task and is making efforts to carry out the minister’s directives.
“In its earlier attempts to tackle the challenges, the Commission informed the Honourable Minister that it had issued a directive to all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on the attendant penalties associated with Automatic Renewal and Forceful Subscription to Data and Value Added Services. The penalties include considerable financial sanctions on the erring operator,” the statement said.
The letter stated that the commission had reviewed the Nigerian Communications Act of 2003 on its rule-making powers and process.
“The Commission is in the process of carrying out a study on the End-of-Session Notification for Data Services and, depending on the outcome, may issue a direction in accordance with the Act,” it said.
In a bid to protect consumers, the commission also notified Mr Pantami of its regulation to include refunds to the consumer in established cases of unauthorised subscription.
The NCC also assured the minister that it has been working assiduously round the clock to enforce the Nigerian government’s directives.