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NCC sanctions Airtel, 9mobile for misconduct

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Internet World Stats, Nigerian Communications Commission remittance, Network operators in Nigeria, Telecoms companies in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Airtel Africa, Airtel, fine, NCC Globacom data, 9mobile court case, Why telcos should double $70 billion investments – NCC, Nigerian Communications Commission, Nigerian Communications, Commission

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has slammed a fine of N127 million on Airtel Nigeria and sanctioned 9mobile for contravening its laws.

According to the Commission’s latest enforcement report, Airtel was reportedly fined N122 million for unilaterally disconnecting Exchange Telecommunications Limited. The regulator said the action contravened the provisions of the Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations 2013 and Enforcement Processes Regulations, 2005, hence the sanction.

Further Details: It was revealed that the mobile network operator was sanctioned for disconnecting another operator from its network without the NCC approval as well as billing subscribers for Value Added Services (VAS) after the latter had activated full Do-Not-Disturb (DND) messages.

As contained in Section 100 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, the excerpt frowns at the disconnection of an operator without the approval of NCC.

The section states: “Notwithstanding the terms and conditions of any interconnection, a party thereto shall not at any time and in any circumstance disconnect or discontinue interconnection to any interconnecting party without the prior written approval of the Commission.”

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[READ: Airtel fails to get minimum number of shareholders for NSE-listing]

9mobile roped in: The NCC while monitoring compliance with the Do Not Disturb (DND) directive, discovered that Airtel subscribed 56 numbers that requested full Do Not Disturb messages (DND) to Value Added Services (VAS), thereby contravening the regulatory directive. Also roped in this act was EMTS trading as 9mobile, which was said to have subscribed 13 lines on full DND to VAS.

Although both Airtel Nigeria and 9mobile reportedly claimed to have technical challenges in disconnecting affected numbers, the Commission turned a blind eye to their pleas and immediately slammed them with a fine of N5 million each. This was also contained in their statement.

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Following this discovery and subsequent correspondence with the licensees in which both claimed to have had technical/software challenges and to have disconnected the affected numbers, the Commission rejected their responses and consequently sanctioned both EMTS and Airtel N5,000,000 each for breach of the Direction,” NCC said in its report.

Due to the high volume of incessant complaints from subscribers over unsolicited text messages and charges for Value Added Services (VAS) not subscribed to, the NCC introduced the 2442 DND (Do Not Disturb) code, which allows subscribers to opt-out of receiving any unsolicited messages.

12 million subscribers activated the code by the end of last year. However, the regulator said it continued to receive complaints from subscribers who had stopped all forms of unsolicited services.

Based on that, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, had warned that any mobile network operator found to have contravened the regulation should be fined N5 million per subscriber.

Danbatta said the NCC would probe concerned service providers for any subscriber that continues to receive unsolicited text messages even after they have chosen the Do Not Disturb (DND) option available from their mobile service provider.

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This new development means that a subscriber can be refunded for every unsolicited message which can be charged by the operator at the rate of N5 million fine for each subscriber that had been violated. This is after the action can be established by the subscriber.

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The introduction of the Do Not Disturb (DND) option is fuelled by the Commission’s determination to put more control in the hands of consumers to determine what they receive on their mobile lines.

How to stop unsolicited messages: The Do Not Disturb (DND) code can be activated fully by sending “STOP” as a text message to 2442, thereby blocking all unsolicited text messages. It can also be activated partially by sending “HELP” as a text message to 2442 to choose from a list of categories of unsolicited messages which the consumer still wants to be receiving.

READ FURTHER: Fine: MTN wants tribunal to overule FIRS on tax deduction

Reincarnated as a lover of stocks, Angel investors, seed funds, and anything aligned to tech or startups raising money, Joseph's work at Nairametrics involves following the money to wherever it leads. Before joining Nairametrics, he won an investigative journalism fellowship with ICIR, appeared in several national dallies, with hard-hitting opinions, features and investigative pieces. He has also engaged in content marketing and copywriting for a top e-commerce firm in Nigeria.

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Energy

Togo, Niger, Benin remit N2.04 billion to Nigeria for power supply

Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission says international electricity customers remitted the sum of N2.04billion to Nigeria in three months.

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NERC postpones increase of electricity tariffs

Nigeria’s international electricity customers – Togo, Niger, and Benin, remitted the sum of N2.04billion in the first quarter of 2020, as their outstanding electricity bill to the Market Operator (MO) of the sector in Nigeria.

This was found in the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission 2020 first quarter report, which was released recently.

According to the report, a total of N4.05billion ($13.22million) invoices were issued by the MO to international customers including Societe Nigerienne d’electricite or NIGELEC; Societe Beninoise d’Energie Electrique (SBEE); and Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo (CEET).

The commission stated that during the quarter, NIGELEC made a payment of ₦1.61billion ($5.27million) as part of its outstanding bills for the energy received from NBET and services rendered by the MO.

It stated, “Similarly, SBEE paid ₦0.43billion ($1.39million) in respect of services received from MO.

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“It was noteworthy that tariff shortfall (represented by the difference between actual end-user tariffs payable by consumers and the cost-reflective rates approved by NERC) had partly contributed to liquidity challenges being experienced in the industry.

“The settlement ratio to the expected Minimum Remittance Thresholds, having adjusted for tariff shortfall, indicated that power distribution companies needed to improve on their performance.”

But

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Special customers like Ajaokuta Steel Co. Ltd and others in its environs did not make any payment in respect of the N0.27billion and N0.05billion invoices issued to them by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc and the MO respectively, during the period under view.

Meanwhile, the power distributors failed to remit N119.88billion to the sector within the same period.

Whereas Discos were expected to make a market remittance of 46.09% during 2020/Q1, only 32.53% settlement rate was achieved within the timeframe provided for market settlement in the Market Rules,” it added.

What it means: The Discos’ remittance level, regardless of the prevailing tariff shortfall, was still below the expected MRT and they are expected to improve on their performances.

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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: Protests may return if panels do not address all issues in 2 weeks – Former Nigerian Minister

Akinyemi says the #EndSARS protesters would return to the streets if their demands are not addressed in two weeks.

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This was disclosed by Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, during a news interview with ARISE TV this afternoon, as he called on the FG to urgently address the issues raised by the protesters, as these issues extend beyond police brutality and the immediate reform of the Nigeria Police force.
He explained during the interview that the current demands of the youths extend beyond basic needs, which remain the core mandate of the present administration.
He likened the #EndSARS protest to the #BlackLivesMatter demonstration and reiterated that demands of the youth extend beyond stomach infrastructure, as it is more of a call for good governance in a bid to address the concrete issues that the country faces.
He called for strategic actions towards combatting the evils of unemployment in Nigeria; called on the military to employ more military men to soak up the unemployment, and also provide security for the country.
On the issue of restructuring, Professor Akinyemi said restructuring is also key to solving the many problems facing the country.
The Professor of Political Science noted that the way forward for Nigeria will be for the government to utilize the Justice Mohammed Uwais report on electoral reforms and the 2014 National Conference report, which he believes addresses the issues confronting Nigerians.
What they are saying
During the interview, Professor Akinyemi said, “I will say and let me believe I am wrong, the judicial panels have just two weeks to address all these issues before the youths come back to the streets. The government should at least give the youths the impression that you have not set up all these panels to buy time, but that you are genuinely and seriously interested in addressing their issues.”
He reiterated the need for the employment of more police officers,
We told the government, because I was part of that conference, that the United Nations said Nigeria needs 1.5 million policemen. We have only about 350,000 and we were recommending that the Nigerian government should employ 750,000 more policemen.”
What we’ve seen in the past two weeks is that we don’t have enough men in uniform to guarantee security in this country if every part of the country decides to blow up. So you serve two purposes – employment and security, and those are things you can do immediately.
“We have just seen how every Governor was scrambling around in the past two weeks; if you allow each state to have its own state police, you wouldn’t have that experience. I have heard of a situation where the streets took over even governance in almost every state. So, restructuring is that you allow things to be done at the local level.”

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: Jason Njoku and wife test positive

iROKOtv CEO and wife have contracted the novel coronavirus.

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Jason Njoku and Wife testes positive to Covid-19

Jason Chukwuma Njoku, the co-founder and CEO of iROKOtv and his wife has tested positive for COVID-19. However, Mrs. Mary Njoku is feeling well.

Jason,  disclosed this via his Twitter handle stating that “My enemies are hard at work in 2020. Mrs. Njoku and I tested positive for Covid-19. I’m not feeling great, but Mary is well. Literally no idea how I caught it. But we shall see this pass too.”

The media mogul did not reveal if his children caught the virus too.

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