The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that activities of counterfeiters are not only detrimental to human health but also contribute to the poor quality of service in the industry.
The commission also stated that both the government and businesses incur huge financial losses due to proliferation of counterfeit devices in the country.
The commission, at a one-day sensitisation workshop on equipment type approval in Lagos yesterday, noted that businesses and individuals had lost properties to fire caused by fake devices.
In his opening remarks, the Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity Department, Bako Wakil, said the commission was aware of the proliferation of sub-standard phones and other equipment by unpatriotic people in the society.
According to him, their activities are not only detrimental to human health but also contribute to the poor quality of service in the industry.
Wakil, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity at NCC, Anthony Ikemefuna, said it was important to sensitise stakeholders on health and safety issues as well as quality of service challenges associated with the use of non-approved or substandard phones and other devices in the industry.
He noted that it was an offence punishable under the law to import or sell communications equipment before obtaining Type Approval certificate from the commission.
According to him, equipment type approval ensures that communications equipment intended for the Nigerian market fully comply with Nigerian and international standards in terms of electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic compatibility and specific absorption rate for human safety and better quality of service.
The Head, Wireless Network at NCC, Chukwuma Nwaiwu, said the commission had been empowered under the NCA Act to carry out type approval of all communication equipment before they are used.
He said radio and non-radio equipment are assessed by the commission to ensure they meet the required standards and are safe for use.
A Consultant to NCC, Fidelis Onah, while presenting a paper on the “Effect of Counterfeit Devices”, said the use of fake communication equipment has led to the disability and death of many people in the country.
According to him, the business of counterfeit, fake and sub-standard goods is one of largest underground industries in the world.
Globally, he said the illegal activities of counterfeiters cost the economy billions of dollars, adding that, “companies spend millions and billions of dollars building brands and reputations and they are being completely destroyed by mostly China counterfeits.”
He identified other impacts of fake telecom devices as power voltage leakages, poor interface with other equipment, cloning of phones by cyber-terrorists, among others.