The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has raised the alarm over plot by politicians in the country to scuttle the ongoing dialogue to resolve amicably the N780 billion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for not deactivating 5.2 million unregistered lines.
The umbrella body of the telecom companies, during a courtesy visit to the executive vice chairman, NCC, Prof Umaru Danbatta, at the commission’s headquarters, recently, advised all politicians and public officers who seems to have abandoned their core jobs to focus on the fine to let the NCC handle the matter professionally and in the best interest of the nation.
The national president of the ATCON, Mr Lanre Ajayi said, “The fact that the NCC presently has no commissioners (board) is no excuse for others agencies and individuals to usurp their roles because it well known that in the absence of a board, the minister acts as the board. Non NCC public officers should intervene only on the invitation of the NCC.”
He said that significant progress had commenced after the enactment of the Telecoms Act 2003 which granted the NCC independence that kept its operation away from political interference. The immediate result was a transparent auction of the GSM spectrum contrary to the earlier practice of issuing licence based on patronage. The independence of the NCC has led to an unimaginable transformation of the sector.
“Regrettably, in recent times the NCC is being robbed of its independence contrary to the spirit and letters of the Telecoms Act 2003. This became more manifest when the issue of the MTN fine arose as some other organs of government virtually took over the responsibility of the NCC. We consider this trend ominous and call on the commission to take charge of its responsibilities and exert its power as guaranteed under the law,” he said.