From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has said that the commission was at the stage of enforcing the “do not disturb” (DND) code, an option that enables consumers to opt out of the process of receiving unsolicited messages, as part of directives to telecom operators in the country.
Danbatta, who stated this while declaring open a two-day inaugural meeting with the academia on International Trade Union (ITU) study group participation in Abuja, said the breach of the DND directive by mobile network operators (MNOs) would attract a fine of N5 million if a consumer lodged a complaint with the NCC that an operator sent unsolicited text messages to him or her.
“When we get this report then we will do two things: we ensure that the credit deducted from the consumer from the unsolicited service is returned to the consumer. And we will also invoke a fine of N5 million on the MNO to ensure total compliance.
“The NCC imposed regulations as a major last resort after we had given the MNOs the time to ensure compliance and we have monitored the compliance to ensure that it is total, not selective,” he said.
He expressed regret that in a population of 180 million Nigerians, only 1.8 million Nigerians understood the direction on how to activate the DND direction. “We are not happy about this and we feel the consumers are at the receiving end of unsolicited messages sent by MNOs,” he declared.
We will make sure the consumer is educated, appreciate the DND to the extent that by the time we finish this massive sensitisation, we hope to reach a target of not less that 50 per cent of the Nigerian consumers.’’
Danbatta said the meeting with the academia was to keep them abreast of the role the ITU was playing in the global ICT industry.
He said the meeting would also enlighten the academia on why it was important for Nigeria to remain a key player in the activities of the union.
“Collaboration between the university and industry is an important component for national development. It promotes innovation and technology transfer, skills development training and knowledge sharing, research and development and