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Akande tasks telecom operators on licensing obligations

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Prof. Adeolu Akande

Nasiru Yusuf

The Chairman, Board of Commissioners of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Adeolu Akande, has urged telecoms licensees across different segments of the Nigerian telecommunications sector on the need to adhere strictly to their licensing obligations in order to ensure robust provision of services to the consumers.

KANO FOCUS reports that Akande made the call in his remark at the third edition of NCC’s 2021 “Talk to The Regulator” (TTTR) Forum, which took place at Visa Karena Hotels, Port Harcourt, over the weekend.

At the forum held with a focus on “Improving Stakeholder Satisfaction”, Akande stated that the essence of conducting the stakeholder engagement forum across the country’s geo-political zones was to demonstrate to the Commission’s licensees that responsibility does not end in issuing of licenses alone but rather in working with the licensing authority to address issues affecting their operations.

Beyond the issuance of licences to operators, Akande declared that the Commission is legitimately concerned with providing the necessary regulatory frameworks and initiatives capable of ushering in an environment that encourages seamless implementation of the licence conditions.

“In return, we expect the licensees to deliver on their licensing conditions and I want to use this opportunity to challenge our licensees to always comply with their licensing obligations and conditions in order to provide the much-needed services to the generality of Nigerians,” he said.

Speaking earlier on the centrality of the stakeholder engagement to the regulatory activities of the Commission, NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO), Umar Garba Danbatta said the Commission considers feedback from stakeholder’s engagement initiatives imperative for building a robust licensing regime in the Nigerian telecom sector.

The EVC, who was represented at the forum by NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, reiterated the Commission’s commitment to stakeholder engagement as a means of deepening collaboration with NCC’s licensees, identifying areas of concern, and jointly developing and implementing practical solutions.

The NCC boss noted that the focus of deliberations for the series of stakeholder engagement had been on licensing processes, policies, and procedures, all geared towards improving Stakeholder Satisfaction, a central factor to all NCC’s regulatory activities.  He emphasised the need to curate insights from each geo-political zone to encourage mutually-beneficial relationships and enhance understanding between the Commission and its key stakeholders.

According to Danbatta, measurable success has been recorded essentially because of Commission’s focus on prioritising stakeholders. “Achievements such as contributions to Gross Domestic product (GDP) grew to 14.42 per cent in Q2’2021; active internet subscriptions have reached over 140 million; teledensity which now stands at 99.98 per cent; and 40.01% per cent broadband penetration, all as at the end of September, 2021,” he said.

Speaking further, Danbatta said to achieve national policy targets and maintain progressive growth in the telecoms industry, “efforts must be jointly made to harness the full cooperation of licensees to highlight areas hampering the progress of the Commission’s stakeholders.

“We have started making necessary adjustments to reflect the views of our licensees in Kano and Lagos. Port Harcourt will not be an exception,” Danbatta assured.

He reiterated that the meeting is organised in keeping with the Commission’s strategic objectives, which seek to guarantee continuous interface with the critical stakeholder in the industry, for collaboration in seeking solutions to challenges of licensing in Nigeria.

Further underscoring the significance of stakeholder engagement and sensitisation in the Commission, Danbatta said the forum affords stakeholders a platform to raise questions about the challenges of licensing and their operations. He said such forum also avails the Commission ample opportunity to adequately respond to the concerns that may be raised.

At the Focus Group Discussions (FGD), participants reviewed and discussed licensing trends, regulatory process, implementation of Annual Operating Levy (AOL) regulations, assigning of short codes, type-approval obligations, and Commission’s expectations.

Commission’s propositions for the survival of smaller licensees were also discussed in a session termed “Listen to the licensee,” as they were not only given ample time to air their grievances but also made to proffer solutions for Management’s consideration.

“Also, mutually-beneficial positions on multiple taxations, surrendered licences, Right-of-way (RoW) for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) boosters, amongst others, were part of the issues discussed.”

The Port Harcourt edition of the TTTR was sequel to previous editions of the stakeholder engagement forum which took place in Kano on October 16, 2021 and Lagos on November 25, 2021.

The event had in attendance members of NCC Board: Millionaire Abowei; Clement Baiye; Chief Uche Onwude; as well as Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Bako Wakil; and his counterpart in Licensing and Authorisation, Muhammed Babajika, whose department facilitated the organisation of the forum.

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ASUU threatens to embark on strike over financial mismanagement in KUST Wudil

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Kano University of Science and Technology (ASUU-KUST), Wudil has expressed serious dismay and sorrow over the financial management style of the authority of KUST, Wudil, which is largely characterized by embezzlement and bogus expenditure.

KANO FOCUS reports that ASUU alleged that over the years the registration fees collected from the students were squandered and misapplied.

A statement sent to KANO FOCUS by chairman ASUU KUST Wudil, Muhammad Sani Gaya jointly signed by his secretary Murtala Muhammad the union is vehemently against the use of any component of registration fees to offset a loan facility amounting to N 200 Million with 10% interest utilized in procuring eight (8) exotic vehicles for the former Pro-Chancellor, A.B Mahmoud SAN and Principal officers of the university.

The statement observed that “The procurement violated section 16 subsection (1), section 24, section 25 and section 42 of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and Kano State Appropriation Law 2019.

“The students who went for SIWES in 2020/2021 session were not given Log book for daily record of the experiences gained, despite collecting N 500 for the Log book and N 3000 for SIWES/TP in the registration fees.

“Students pay N3000 as internet service charges; however, the internet service has become history in the university. There is also inadequate supply of pharmaceutical drugs and other medical facilities despite collecting fees from the students. The students are made to enroll into non-functional health insurance scheme.”

According to ASUU Salary arrears of Staff ranging from one to three months, were not paid and their pension contributions for the said period were deducted.

ASUU alleged that misappropriation and misapplication of funds has become a norm of the university authority.

“To this effect, the university authority has diverted over N 352 Million of staff pension contributions in gross violation of section 11 subsection 3 (b) and 70(2) of the pension reform Act 2014 and section 7(2) of Kano state pension and gratuity Law.

“Furthermore, the taxes deducted from the staff salaries have not been fully remitted to Kano Internal Revenue Service (KIRS).

“It became so embarrassing that the KIRS had to drag the university to Tax Appeal Tribunal in Kaduna after what they described as the nonchalance of the university authority to respond to the KIRS correspondences on the unremitted tax deductions. This singular action has already tarnished the good image of the University as a corporate entity.

“The union is strongly calling on the university authority to immediately address the aforementioned issues to avoid industrial dispute.”

The KUST management reacts

However, a statement sent to KANO FOCUS later in the day by the university’s spokesperson Sa’idu Abdullahi Nayaya dismissed the allegations as false, saying that the University did not violate any provision of the Procurement act or Financial Regulations.

According to the statement, all account books of the University are kept clean and up-to-date and there is no any iota of financial embezzlement.

The statement added that all outstanding issues requiring Government attention are receiving attention from the Government.

it observed that all issues raised are the same issues submitted to the Visitation Panel that have just concluded its assignment, noting that issues raised were stale as they have been addressed and explained for over five (5) years.

“The Management of the University stands firm in its resolve and commitment to keep ensuring a peaceful and conducive atmosphere for academic and administrative activities in order to see to the realization of the objectives of the founding fathers of the University.

“The Management, once again solicits the understanding, cooperation and support from all people in ensuring that KUST is taken to the next level.

“The Management, once again solicits the understanding, cooperation and support from all people in ensuring that KUST is taken to the next level,” the statement concluded.

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Armed Forces hospital Kano gets new pediatric surgical theatre

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pediatric surgical theatre to Armed Forces Specialist Hospital, Kano.

Nasiru Yusuf

A Non Governmental Organisation Smile Train has donated a pediatric surgical theatre to Armed Forces Specialist Hospital, Kano.

KANO FOCUS reports that the facility was commissioned by Emir of Dutse, Nuhu Muhammad Sanusi.

Speaking at the occasion the chief of Defence staff Lucky Irabor applauded the initiative.

Irabor, represented by Ginikanwa Nwosu said the Nigerian Armed Forces will continue to collaborate with relevant agencies in providing quality pediatric treatment to children as part of it corporate social responsibility.

Nwosu, a Major General in Nigerian army said the surgical theatre will help in solving cleft challenge in children.

According to him the centre is accessible to all Nigerians.

pediatric surgical theatre, Armed Forces Specialist Hospital, Kano.

“The paediatric surgical centre is not only beneficial to the Nigerian Army, it is beneficial to every citizens especially children from every part of the country with the deformity known as cleft. It is basically for them. Because the Armed Forces specialist Hospital, Kano is also open for the treatment of the general public.

“It is heartening to see this high level of collaboration to bring succour not just to members of Armed Forces and their family but the general public,” Nwosu said.

While donating the equipment, regional director of VP Smile Train and Africa Nkeiruka Obi said their aim is to ensure every child enjoys free access to cleft surgery.

pediatric surgical theatre, Armed Forces Specialist Hospital, Kano.

“This is in line with our mission to ensure that every child or every adult one with cleft in every part of the world is giving access to free and comprehensive cleft care. So that they are able to live healthy and productive life,” Mrs Obi said.

pediatric surgical theatre, Armed Forces Specialist Hospital, Kano.

The chairman of Grassroots smile initiative Adetokunbo Adebola said the facility now gets pediatric operating suit, recovery room fully equipped with 3D cone beam cephalometric x-ray machine and royal dental clinic.

This according to him, is to strengthen comprehensive healthcare services in the hospital.

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Court fixes March 17 for hearing of Yunusa Yellow’s appeal

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Yunusa Yellow

Nasiru Yusuf

The Court of Appeal, Portharcourt Division has fixed March 17, for hearing of the substantive appeal.

KANO FOCUS reports that one of the counsel to Yunusa Dahiru (Yellow), Sunusi Musa announced this in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Other counsels to Yunusa Yellow present at the court include Huwaila Muhammad, Abdul Muhammad Rafindadi and Kayode Olaosebikan.

The Trial

The case of Yunusa and Ese generated a lot of reactions in 2015 when it was first reported.

Yunusa was arrested and arraigned at the Federal High Court, Yenagoa in 2016 in the suit number FHC/YNG/17c/2016 on a five-count charge of criminal abduction, illicit sex, sexual exploitation and unlawful carnal knowledge of a minor.

Part of the charges against Yunusa read: “That you, Yunusa Dahiru, a male, resident in Opolo-Eipie area of Yenagoa in Bayelsa State, conspired with the duo of Dankano Mohammed and Mallam Alhassan, between August, 2015 and February, 2016, to commit an offence of abduction and thereby committed offence punishable under section 27(a) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.”

In May 2020 the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, sentenced Yunusa, to 26 years imprisonment for child trafficking and sexual exploitation of Ese Oruru.

Ese was reportedly abducted by Yellow in Bayelsa in 2015, taken to Kano State where she was allegedly forcefully married and impregnated by Dahiru.

While delivering judgement Justice Jane Inyang, held that Yunusa was not guilty of count one which bothered on abduction.

The judge, however, found him guilty of child trafficking, illicit sex, sexual exploitation and unlawful carnal knowledge.

He was jailed five years in count two (Child trafficking), seven years in count three (illicit sex), seven years in count four (Sexual exploitation) and seven years in count five (Unlawful carnal knowledge).

The judge, however, held that the sentences should run consecutively, which means the convict will spend a maximum of 26 years in jail.

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