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NCC revises determination on USSD pricing

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NCC-building

Nasiru Yusuf

The Nigerian Communications Commission has revised its Determination on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) pricing published on the 23rd of July, 2019.

Kano Focus reports that, the commission said the development is in furtherance of its mandate to protect the interests of consumers and support a robust telecommunications sector.

A statement sent to Kano Focus by commission’s director public affairs Ikechukwu Adinde revealed that the amendment was necessitated following a protracted dispute between Mobile Network Operators and Financial Institutions on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing.

The statement added that as a responsive and effective regulatory authority, the Commission recognises that its policies are not static and may be modified from time to time as circumstances demand.

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This according to the statement is coming on the heels of a recent directive by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, regarding a review of the USSD pricing by all parties involved, following a presentation made by the Commission on the billing structure, determination of USSD pricing, current status and the way forward.

Speaking during the presentation, the Minister stated that he took the decision to suspend the commencement of end-user billing (where the consumers are charged directly from their airtime balance for use of USSD channels as opposed to corporate billing where the banks paid the MNOs for the use of USSD service) because he was “genuinely besieged with a barrage of complaints at the attempted commencement of end-user billing by service providers.”

The Minister also clarified that “USSD is a service to banks and not to the Telecom Consumers, and as such, banks should see themselves as corporate customers of telecom operators with a duty to pay for using the telecom network and infrastructure, including USSD channels extended to them for service delivery to their customers.”

According to him, “Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have no direct relationship to bank customers, and cannot, therefore, charge directly for usage of USSD channel.”

The USSD channel has evolved over time from a telco-exclusive channel used for only telco services such as balance inquiry and recharges to a channel for the deployment of a broad spectrum of services, including financial, insurance, agricultural, government services and more. The use of USSD channel has become a critical resource in the economy even more so in this era of the Covid-19 pandemic that has witnessed a rise in reliance on digital services.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta, in the interest of the consumers and other stakeholders, has revised the Determination previously issued by removing the Price Floor and the Cap to allow the Mobile Network Operators and the banks negotiate rates that will be mutually beneficial to all parties concerned.

The NCC also determined that Mobile Network Operators must not charge the consumers directly for the use of USSD channels for financial services in the form of end-user-billing. The transaction should be between the MNOs and the entity to which the service is provided (i.e. Banks and Financial Institutions).

The statement said the copy of the determination is available on the NCC’s website, www.ncc.gov.ng.

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KanSLAM Commemorates World Sickle Cell Awareness Day

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Kano State Led Accountability Mechanism (KanSLAM) has joined the global community in commemorating World Sickle Cell Awareness Day.

KANO FOCUS reports that a statement jointly signed by chairperson and co-chairperson of the KanSLAM Pharmacist Mainumuna Yakubu Muhammad and Malam Murtala Baba reaffirmed KanSLAM’s commitment to improving the lives of those affected by this debilitating condition in Kano State and beyond.

 

The statement observed that Sickle cell disease is one of the most common genetic disorders worldwide, with Nigeria bearing the highest burden. In Kano State, many families face the daily challenges posed by SCD, including chronic pain, frequent hospitalizations, and social stigma. This day serves as a critical reminder of the ongoing need for comprehensive care, public education, and robust support systems for individuals living with SCD.

 

KanSLAM acknowledges the tireless efforts of healthcare professionals, caregivers, and support groups who work relentlessly to provide care and advocate for individuals with sickle cell disease. We also recognize the resilience and strength of those living with SCD, who continue to inspire us with their courage.

 

“In alignment with our mission to enhance health accountability and improve healthcare outcomes, KanSLAM is committed to the following actions:

 

“As a SLAM, we will continue to advocate for the implementation of comprehensive care programs for SCD patients in Kano State, ensuring access to necessary medications, regular screenings, and specialized medical services.

 

“On this World Sickle Cell Awareness Day, KanSLAM calls on all stakeholders, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, healthcare professionals, and the general public, to join hands in the fight against sickle cell disease. Together, we can make significant strides towards a future where no one has to suffer from the impacts of SCD.

 

“Let us unite in our efforts to bring hope, support, and better health outcomes for individuals living with sickle cell disease in Kano State and beyond,” the statement added.

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Kwankwaso celebrates Eid el Kabir with Kwankwasiyya Political Movement

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Kwankwasiyya political movement also known as Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation on Tuesday celebrated a grand Eid-el-Kabir reception at the residence of the leader of the movement, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso.

KANO FOCUS reports that the event was attended by the Supreme Leader of the Kwankwasiyya movement Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso together with other top Kano NNPP Government functionaries and teeming supporters.

The special Sallah celebrations in Kano brought together leadership of the party as well as friends and well wishers from within and outside Nigeria.

Mammoth crowd of Kwankwasiyya loyalists

Local and National musicians and artistsr from Nupe, Tiv and Jos in North Central to North West, and Southern Nigeria had a field day with display of different dance steps from across the country.

Prominent among those who graced the occasion are Ali Jita, Nazifi Asnanic and Bashir Dandago.

Addressing the mammoth crowd, the national leader of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, has said an average Kano person doesn’t want injustice.

He stressed that the Kwankwassiya people were peaceful but have always had to contend with their political enemies. He said, “In 2019, we won the governorship election in this state but enemies of the state went against us through the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the courts and so on. What happened is now a history.

“It was the same thing in 2023. We won the election overwhelmingly and there were a lot of efforts by enemies of the state who are the minority here to take it, but by the grace of God, he decided that justice would be done. And I am sure that has gone a long way to maintain peace and order in the state.

“But it looks like the enemies are at it again, going by what is happening on the issue of the emirate council.

“On the contrary, people were further reinforced and working very hard to ensure that more people join this movement. And I am not surprised because the average Kano person doesn’t want injustice. That’s why we are here.”

In his address the Commissioner for Higher Education in Kano state, Dr Yusuf Kofarmata said, the event was to celebrate Sallah with the leader of Kwankwasiya Movement and NNPP Leader, Rabiu Kwankwaso.

While congratulating Muslims for a peaceful Sallah celebrations, the Commissioner urged the gathering to reflect on the lessons and build a better society.

 

 

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Kano Emirate Tussle: State Assembly alleges bias, asks Appeal Court to take over proceedings

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

Ahead of the ruling of Justice Abdullahi Liman of the Federal High Court, Kano, on a motion filed by Aminu Babba Danagundi, the Sarkin Dawaki Babba, challenging the legality of the Kano Emirates Council (Repeal) Law 2024, the Kano State House of Assembly has asked the Court of Appeal sitting in Kano to stay further proceedings at the Federal High Court pending the hearing of the appeal before the appellate court.

KANO FOCUS reports that the call came as All Progressives Congress (APC) described comments credited to the presidential candidate of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) in the 2023 election, Rabiu Kwankwaso, that the ruling party was trying to take Kano State through the backdoor by declaring a state of emergency, as disappointing and insensitive.

Liman had scheduled ruling on the legality of the Kano Emirates Council (Repeal) Law 2024 for Thursday, June 20, 2024, just after he dismissed an application for a stay of proceedings by Eyitayo Fatogun, representing the Kano State House of Assembly.

Dissatisfied, Kano State House of Assembly, in Appeal No: CA/KN/ /26/2024 filed by its lawyer, Fatogun, prayed for an order of injunction restraining the respondents, their privies, servants or any other person or authority, deriving power, authority, rights or privileges from any of the respondents particularly the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh respondents from enforcing or attempting to further enforce the repealed Kano State Emirates Council Law, a law which was no longer extant, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal before the Court of Appeal.

The appellant also prayed the court to stay execution of all orders, particularly the ex-parte order granted on May 23, 2024 by the lower court pending the hearing and determination of the appeal presently before the court.

The respondents are Alhaji Aminu Babba Danagundi; Kano State Government; Attorney General of Kano State; Commissioner of Police, Kano State; Inspector General of Police; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; and Department of State Services.

In its motion on notice brought pursuant to Sections 6 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution, Order 7 Rule 1 of the Court of Appeal Rules and under inherent jurisdiction of the court, the appellant prayed the court to take over the entire proceedings, alleging that there were conflicting orders of the Kano State High Court and the Federal High Court on same subject matter.

In its application for an urgent date, the appellant stated that the Federal High Court in Kano on or about June 13, 2024, had delivered its ruling in a suit filed for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of a king maker as it related to the Kano State Emirate Council (repeal) Law 2024 made by the House of Assembly of Kano State and duly assented by the executive governor of Kano State.

In the said ruling, the court in its wisdom, held that it had jurisdiction in a chieftaincy matter, and subsequently adjourned to June 14, 2024, for the hearing of the several applications filed by the applicant, particularly the application seeking to nullify the Kano State Emirate Council (repeal) Law 2024.

The appellant further stated, “On the 13th day of June 2024, we immediately attempted to file our Notice of Appeal but were denied the opportunity by the Registry of the Federal High Court in Kano on the grounds that it was well after 2pm and they would not take processes anymore.

“Of great interest is that the registry continued to take processes for filing in other matters, which were not related to the above mentioned suit.

“We, therefore, filed the notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal Registry and filed alongside an application for departure from the rules.

“On the 14th of June 2024, the Registry of the Federal High Court did not open till 9am due to hostility and fear of collecting processes from us for filing. We also applied for the ruling of the 13th day of June 2024, assuming jurisdiction, but as suspected, the ruling is not yet ready.

“We compiled records with the documents we were served, though uncertified but largely the documents filed by the plaintiff at the lower court and were given an appeal number as indicated above. We certainly would compile supplementary records shortly upon receipt of the proceedings and ruling.

“We consequently filed a motion for stay of proceedings or further proceedings before His Lordship.

“It may be of interest that your Lordship be informed that all these issues were brought to the attention of His Lordship. Hon Justice A. M Liman but in a short ruling today refused an application for stay of proceedings, despite becoming aware of the motion pending in the Court of Appeal.”

The appellant submitted that an appeal shall be deemed to have been entered in the court when the record of proceedings in the court below had been received in the Registry of the court.

He stated, “Where there is an application before a higher court for a stay of further proceedings in the lower court, a decision by the lower court, which will render the result of such application nugatory, should be avoided.

“This unfortunate attitude in disregarding the process of the Court of Appeal bothers on judicial impertinence. it is an affront on the authority of the Court of Appeal. All the courts established under the constitution derive their powers and ‘authority’ from the constitution.

“His lordship went ahead to hear an interlocutory application seeking to nullify the Kano State Emirate Council (repeal) Law 2024, which is the subject matter of the suit before My Lord.

“All entreaties, including learned silk, Eyitayo Fatogun SAN’s recusing himself and applying that the matter be adjourned so that the parties he was representing could get other legal representation, fell on deaf ears as his lordship went ahead with the hearing of the motion.

“The effect of the grant of the motion heard by my lord, of the Federal High Court, when His Lordship delivers ruling on Thursday, the 20th of June 2024, is that the Emirate Council law as it is in force in Kano may be nullified, and the present Emir of Kano, HRM, Lamido Sanusi, may be removed from his palace as the police have hinted on carrying out the orders of the Federal High Court.”

They argued that the Federal High Court had determined the entire appeal based on jurisdiction as the court had continued to assume jurisdiction.

The appellant further averred, “It would set a bad precedent of lower courts choosing not to respect the decisions or proceedings of the higher court

“The Federal High Court with its disposition might grant the orders prayed for and cause that the five emirates and their emirs, some of whom have left the state for peace to reign would then have to return, causing chaos and uprising in the state

“The loss of lives, which might be occasioned by the ruling, may be rather too much, as the peace in the state may be breached.

“It is in the interest of justice that the Court of Appeal takes over the entire proceedings as there are conflicting orders of the Kano State High Court and Federal High Court on the same subject matter.”

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