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NCC set to combat e-fraud, standardise regional roaming tariffs

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other telecoms regulators under the auspices of West African Telecoms Regulators Assembly (WATRA) are set to develop technical and regulatory modalities aimed at combating rising wave of electronic frauds, and standardising regional roaming tariffs in the sub-region.

KANO FOCUS reports that this was the crux of a two-day meeting organised by WATRA in collaboration with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), which started on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at Rockview Hotel in Abuja.

The meeting, which was attended by representatives of telecoms regulators from countries across West Africa, provided a platform for key participants and stakeholders to deliberate on building a unified market in telecommunications services in West Africa, to combat roaming and cyber-related frauds, and achieve the standardisation of roaming tariffs among ECOWAS member-states.

Addressing stakeholders at the meeting, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta, who is also the Chairman of WATRA, underscored the centrality of the meeting by emphasising that, as businesses move online, the fraudsters are also going digital.

Danbatta, who was represented by NCC’s Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Bako Wakil, said, based on this fact and in order to give West African citizens and businesses the confidence to fully take advantage of the enormous benefits of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), there was a need for regulators to tame and outpace the fraudsters.

“About 75 per cent of trade within ECOWAS is informal, and thus poorly recorded. Therefore, digitising this trade through employing many forms of electronic payments is a significant step towards formalising, governing and boosting intra-ECOWAS trade activities.

“Our ambitions are to formalise informal trade, including agricultural commodities as well as boosting intra-regional trade and this requires us to improve collaboration on combating electronic fraud,” Danbatta said.

Danbatta informed the delegates to the forum that electronic fraud is not just an African or a West African issue but a global phenomenon. He cited studies that revealed 54 per cent of consumers in the European Union said they are most likely to come across misleading/deceptive or fraudulent advertisements or offers on the Internet.

On the regional roaming service, the WATRA Chairman said the Assembly has the vision of a ‘Digital ECOWAS’ where improved sub-regional roaming regulation can help to facilitate an economic integration in the region.

“Our citizens, traders and companies will trade better when they can use their telephones to call contacts in other ECOWAS countries and when they can use their data subscriptions at no extra cost while travelling or doing business within the region. So, reducing and eventually eliminating the cost of roaming will also be a very significant contribution towards boosting trade within the region,” Danbatta said.

The EVC expressed satisfaction at the level of collaboration among national regulatory authorities in the sub-region on the one hand; and between WATRA and ECOWAS, to achieve a common goal, on the other hand, describing such synergy as a great indicator of progress and internalisation of best global practices.

“I am very pleased to see the excellent collaboration and the sharing of workload between the telecommunications body and personnel within ECOWAS and WATRA. Their roles have become complementary and mutually reinforcing-policies legislative frameworks that have been designed at the ECOWAS level, while WATRA does the follow-up work of information-sharing, dialogue and learning dispersal amongst regulatory authorities. It is indeed becoming a well-articulated symphony,” he added.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of WATRA, Aliyu Aboki, emphasised the value of a trusted digital economy to any nation. He cited a study by Accenture, which concludes that “a trusted digital economy would stimulate 2.8 per cent additional growth for major firms, with the new transactions generated totaling $5.2 trillion of value creation in the economy,” hence, the establishment and operationalisation of national and regional anti-fraud committee.

Aboki commended ECOWAS for “allowing this regional sharing of the enormous task of building Digital ECOWAS to work very well through WATRA, which is a regional manifestation of this collaborative structure”. The WATRA Chief restated that WATRA, as a mechanism for regional regulatory collaboration, will work in unison and ensure its vision is speedily executed by making sure that no nation in the region is left behind.

Speaking at the forum, the Acting Director, Digital Economy and Post, ECOWAS, Raphael Koffi, noted that while e-fraud in the provision of communication services has always been an issue being collectively tackled, variance in termination rates agreed in commercial roaming agreements has also constituted an obstacle to harmonization of roaming tariffs which, he said, collaboration between WATRA and ECOWAS is set to achieve.

Participants at the event were updated on the status of the implementation of the Removal of Surcharges on International Traffic (SIIT) on ECOWAS countries;  establishment of a uniform tariff cap for roaming call termination in the ECOWAS region, among others.

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Sheikh Mahy Niasse denies urging Emir Sanusi to step down

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

The Supreme leader of the Tijjaniyya Ibrahimiyya Sect, Sheikh Muhammad Mahi Niasse, has debunked a letter making the round that he appealed to the Reinstated Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II to step down and follow his grandfather’s footsteps.

KANO FOCUS reports that this was just as the organisation said: “This is the second time these kinds of letters have been forged against our Global Tijjaniyya leader; the same things were done during the previous administration of Umar Ganduje, but this time around, anybody who is behind it will have himself to blame.”

However, in a counter letter written in Arabic and translated to Hausa, signed by the Commissioner of Religious Matters of Kano State and who also doubled as the Nigeria spokesperson of the Global Tijjaniyya Leader, Sani Auwalu Ahmad Tijjani, the purported letter asking Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II to step down is a forged one and does not emanate from their leader.

The letter reads: In fact, the purported letter touches on the integrity of our leader, who sees Muhammadu Sanusi II as his disciple in Nigeria and a person of humble background with sound religious character.”.

He said, “We have given those behind the purported letter to, within 24 hours, show themselves and explain from where it’s emanated and to whom it was sent; otherwise, we will not hesitate in taking legal action against them.”

He said already that security has been detailed on the matter, and anybody who is behind it will soon face the full wrath of the laws, “because we ask him to be arrested and prosecuted duly.”

Tijjani stated that they will not allow the continued destruction of the names of their religious leader and will always link him to things that he has never written.

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NUP presents Gov Yusuf with Outstanding Governor of the Year award

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….Acknowledged him as the “Most friendly Governor for pensioners

The national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners has bestowed upon the Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, the title of the most pensioner-friendly Governor of the year.

This was contained in a statement issued by governor’s spokesperson Sunusi Bature Dawakin Tofa on Thursday.

In presenting the accolade to the Governor, the national chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mazi Godwin Ikechuku Abumisi, expressed that it was incumbent upon the union to acknowledge the Governor due to his steadfast dedication to the welfare of pensioners in the state.

“Your Excellency, you shine brightly as a beacon of support to our members.

“Over the past year, you have authorized and disbursed eleven billion naira to clear the backlog of pension gratuity payments.

“This milestone is unparalleled; no other governor has accomplished such a feat within a single year since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.”

In their messages of goodwill earlier, the state chairmen of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Kano expressed gratitude to the Governor for his unwavering commitment to addressing the pension liabilities amounting to N43 billion left by the previous administration.

Responding to the honor, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf reiterated his unwavering dedication to supporting pensioners by the settlement of their gratuities and the timely disbursement of monthly pension allowances.

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Kano emirate tussle: Police ban Sallah durbar

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Kano State Police Command has prohibited the planned Durbar celebrations by both dethroned Emir Aminu Ado Bayero and reinstated Emir Muhammad Sanusi ll.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Durbar, a traditional ceremony typically held a day after Sallah, involves the Emir riding on horseback through major areas of Kano city.

Despite both Emirs having made preparations and requested security permission from the state police command, the police have denied their requests due to potential security concerns.

The Kano State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Haruna Kiyawa, confirmed the ban in a statement issued on Thursday.

The statement, titled “Ban on Durbar Activities and Other Security Restraints During Sallah Festivities,” emphasized that the police command has issued security advisories to residents in preparation for the forthcoming Sallah celebrations.

The police decision aims to prevent any potential conflicts or security breaches that could arise from the ongoing emirship dispute.

The Kano State Police Command congratulates Muslim faithful and all law-abiding residents of the State for witnessing yet another Eid-El-Kabir Sallah period and assures that adequate security deployments have been put in place to ensure no breakdown of law and order in all parts of the State before, during and after the festive period.

SP Kiyawa added “This is part of the commitment to sustenance of the peace by the Kano State Police Command in conjunction with all the relevant security stakeholders.

He state that “in furtherance, a ban has been placed on ALL DURBAR activities throughout the State for the upcoming Eid-El-Kabir celebrations”.

This measure is taken as a result of series security reports obtained and wide consultations made with relevant security stakeholders to ensure the safety of the larger community.

However, worshippers are advised to conduct their normal Eid Prayers at the various designated Eid praying grounds, traditionally done in the past.

On a final note, the Command encourages continued collaboration and cooperation from all stakeholders to collectively work together to build a safer and more secure environment.

The Command also urges everyone to keep reporting any suspicious movement of person(s) or item(s) they come across to the nearest Police Station or through the following Kano State Police Command emergency contact numbers:- 08032419754, 08123821575, 09029292926.

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