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NCC takes consumer outreach Programme to University of Abuja

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Nasiru Yusuf

Following the re-structuring and re-branding of its existing consumer outreach programmes, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has held the maiden edition of the Campus Conversation at the University of Abuja.

KANO FOCUS reports that Campus Conversation is featured as an important part of NCC’s new Telecom Consumer Conversation (TCC).

Speaking at the event, which held at the Main Campus of the University of Abuja at the weekend, NCC’s Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Efosa Idehen, said the Commission, as a consumer-centric regulator, has always been at the forefront of protecting the interest of the consumers.

He said the Commission has, over the years, embarked on many initiatives and programmes to deliver on its consumer protection mandate, as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003 and in line with other subsidiary legislations, guidelines, directions and determinations, in order to proactively address consumer concerns.

Idehen stated that, as a modified outreach programme, Campus Conversation takes life from NCC’s consumer protection and empowerment agenda as stipulated in the Commission’s Strategic Management and Vision Plans, as well as extant policies and well-conceived decisions of Management.

The objective of the Conversation is to ensure that the telecom consumers on university campuses are adequately informed and educated on their rights and privileges to acquire knowledge they require to take informed decision and protect themselves from unwholesome practices from service providers.

“Essentially, this maiden edition of our Campus Conversation is kicking off here at the University of Abuja today, as part of our strategic effort at creating awareness among the university students on their rights and obligations as telecoms consumers, as well as sensitising them on the many initiatives of the Commission designed to enhance consumer protection and empowerment,” Idehen said.

At the event, the NCC team led by Idehen, took turns to educate the campus community on Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration, the Benefits of National Identity Number (NIN)-SIM Integration, Cybersecurity and related online protection issues, among other initiatives of the NCC.

Participants were also enlightened on the various consumer-centric activities of NCC such as the NCC Consumer Complaint Toll-free Number 622; the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) Short Code 2442 instituted to manage unsolicited messages; the National Emergency Toll-free Number 112 which every citizen is expected to know and use during emergencies. Over twenty Emergency Communication Centres (ECCs) where 112 calls are received and escalated, have been constructed by the NCC and operational in different states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

Other Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials printed in bookmarks, handbills and stickers were distributed. The IECs cover a wide-range of topics on consumer concerns, including Consumer Bill of Rights, Complaints Management Process, Mobile Number Portability (MNP), SIM Registration, Obligations of Telecom Service Providers and the Consumers, and Tips on Managing Data Usage.

The event provided a rare opportunity to the students and other members of the University community to interface with the Commission. The NCC team responded to questions and comments relating to the participants’ experience with telecom services.

The Vice-Chancellor of University of Abuja, Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, who was represented at the forum by the University’s Head of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department, Evans Ashigwuike, commended the NCC for the elaborate enlightenment programme hosted in the university community, which he described as highly beneficial to the students.

Na’Allah assured the Commission that the University will ensure that students, who attended the Consumer Conversation pass the knowledge gained and the IEC materials circulated by NCC to their fellow students for effective knowledge-sharing and education.

The TCC, now segmented and targeted at different consumer groups, comprises: The Village Square Dialogue, The Telecom Public Sphere, The Professionals’ Dialogue, Campus Conversation, Market Conversation and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Sensitization.

Aside the TCC, other strategic outreach programmes of the Commission, delivered through its Consumer Affairs Bureau, include Consumer Telecom Town Halls on Radio, a phone-in radio dialogic programme to educate consumers at the grassroots; Telecom and The Citizen, a bi-monthly Twitter Live Chat targeting telecom consumers that are active on the social media; and Telecom TV Dialogue, a monthly television-based discourse on topical telecom issues.

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Centre lauds NCC Boss over reforms in communications sector

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Centre for International and Strategic Studies (CISS) has applauded the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani and Aminu Maida, the CEO/EVC of the Nigeriansector Communications Commission (NCC) for reforming the sector.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Centre made this known in its assessment report of the communications sector under President Bola Tinubu.

In the report signed by Dr Thomas Uzah, the Centre hailed Dr Tijani and Maida for keying into President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda with laudable initiatives and reforms.

The report commended the minister for convincing President Tinubu to sign four Executive Orders including the suspension of the five percent Exercise Tax on telecommunication services.

It also acknowledged the importance of the National Broadband Alliance for Nigeria (NBAN) in fostering collaboration for broadband development and adoption to position the country at the forefront of the global digital landscape.

“The administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is consolidating on these gains as part of his promised renewed hope,” the report said in part.

“His appointment of an experienced young Nigerian in the person of Bosun Tijani as Minister of Communication and Digital Economy has yielded fruits with the reforms introduced by the ministry since his assumption of duty.

“He got the President to sign an executive order to suspend multiple taxation that has stifled business in the sector. The administration has rolled out many initiatives that, if implemented diligently will turn things around in the communication sector.

“Efforts are in place in human capacity development with the training of young men and women in ICT while also improving internet accessibility for Nigerians. The reforms introduced under the auspices of Dr Dr Bosun Tijani if sustained will solve many of the problems witnessed in the sector. ”

The Centre, however, recommended that the NCC should revamp stakeholder engagement across the country.

It also urged the Federal Government to address the cost of doing business and invest massively in infrastructure, especially the power sector.

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NCC orders telecom operators to block SIMs without NIN

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission has reiterated its directive to telecom operators to bar telephone subscribers not linked to their National Identification Numbers on or before February 28, 2024.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Executive Vice Chairman, National Communication Commission, Dr Aminu Maida, spoke at the NCC’s Special Day during the ongoing 45th Kaduna International Trade Fair on Wednesday.

Maida who was represented by Reuben Mouka, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, insisted that as a matter of critical national security, telecom consumers must link their NIN to their SIM.

He reaffirmed that the February 28th deadline given to telecom operators to bar subscribers who failed to link their NIN to SIM, stands.

“To this end, the National Communication Commission has directed all telecommunication operators to bar phone lines of subscribers whose lines are not linked to their NINs on or before February 28, 2024,” he added.

This, the executive vice chairman said, was apt as the theme resonated with the principles and objectives of the commission in promoting local content development in the telecom industry.

Maida also said the NCC was committed to protecting consumers’ rights while ensuring their satisfaction and noting that the commission has created a universally acceptable environment to access “affordable and equitable service and supports the nation’s economic growth.”

“As a regulator of the telecommunications sector in the country, the Commission carries out its functions to ensure service availability, affordability, and sustainability for all categories of consumers, who are leveraging on ICT/Telecoms to drive personal and business activities,” he said.

For instance, he continued that the Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE) Desk at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Internatonal Airport Abuja The TELCARE desk was set up to further provide an additional platform to make enquiries on customer issues, receive and facilitate the resolution of telecom consumer complaints.

He explained that by “working together, we can create a more vibrant telecommunications industry that contributes significantly to the economic recovery and growth.”

According to him, as of 2023, the telecoms industry’s contribution to the nation’s GDP stood at 13.5% (Source – Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report November 2023-A publication of the National Bureau of Statistics.

“Conversely, as we promote economic growth through the development of local content, we must also address the challenges faced by consumers and NCC is committed to protecting their rights while ensuring their satisfaction.

The NCC boss, therefore urged telecom firms to prioritize customer satisfaction and uphold the highest standards of service delivery, noting that the commission has implemented measures to safeguard the interests of consumers and businesses alike.

One such measure, he said, was the NCC’s directive on May 17, 2023, that all licensed Mobile Network Operators commence implementation of approved Harmonised Short Codes for providing services to Nigerian telecom consumers.

“The new initiative is enabling consumers using the over 224 million active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria to use the same codes to access services across all networks,” he added.

Meanwhile, the NCC boss disclosed that as of 2023, the telecoms industry’s contribution to the nation’s GDP stood at 13.5 per cent, according to the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report November 2023 – A publication of the National Bureau of Statistics.

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Kano Assembly passes Public Health Security bill

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Kano-Assembly

Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

Kano State House of Assembly on Tuesday passed Public Health Security bill.

KANO FOCUS reports that the the bill was passed after extensive deliberations during the plenary, presided over by Speaker, Alhaji Jibril Ismail Falgore (NNPP-Rogo) in Kano.

After the deliberations, the lawmakers approved the third reading of the bill by the Clerk.

The assembly also commended development partners for their support toward the successful passage of the bill.

Kano State has become a trailblazer among Nigerian states by spearheading the bill as this crucial legislation is designed to fortify the state’s capabilities in preventing, detecting, responding to, recovering from, and preparing for epidemic diseases.

Initiated during the 9th Assembly, the bill garnered support from key partners such as the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO Lafiya), Legislative Initiative for Sustainable Development (LISDEL) among others.

These organizations played a pivotal role in advocacy and hosting workshops for stakeholders and legislators, offering in-depth insights into the bill.

The Bill was sponsored by Musa Ali Kachako member representing Takai state constituency.

Following the workshops, the bill successfully passed its 1st reading but faced a hiatus due to time constraints and the subsequent closure of the 9th Assembly. As per legislative protocols, an unfinished bill in one assembly necessitates restarting the process in a new assembly.

Upon the inauguration of the 10th Assembly, supportive partners launched advocacies and follow-ups based on previous efforts. The members of the assembly, acknowledging the significant investments in the bill, embraced it.

The bill has progressed through the 1st, 2nd and 3rd readings, with a comprehensive retreat organized to scrutinize its contents, sections, and technicalities.

The document underwent meticulous review by a standing committee on health, generating a detailed report presented to the floor of the house and subsequently accepted.

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