On Wednesday, August 05, 2020, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta resumed for his second tenure office as the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The Director of Public Affairs at the Commission, Dr Ikecikwu Adinde, has reassured Nigerians that the telecommunications industry is in safe hands with Prof. Danbatta on the helm of affairs.
He made the assertion today during a virtual meeting with ICT reporters under the umbrella of Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA).
Prof. Danbatta was recently (re)confirmed by the Nigerian Senate after his (re)appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari, in accordance with the provisions of Section 8 subsections 1 and 4 of the Nigerian Communications Commission Act (NCA), 2003.
Section 8 subsection 1 of the Act states that “…all commissioners to be appointed after the coming into force of this Act shall be appointed by the President in accordance with Section 7 of this Act, from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria subject to confirmation by the Senate,” while subsection 4 states that “…commissioners shall serve for a term of 5 years from the date of their appointment at the expiration of which the President may renew the term for a further period of 5 years and no more.”
The DPA said that Prof. Danbatta led management team are eager to consolidate on the Commission’s achievements that bequeathed it with the status as reference point for telecom regulation in Africa.
According to him, other African telecom regulators have continued to come to Nigeria to understudy the regulatory template of the NCC, which at various times has attracted favorable ratings by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Meanwhile, the Dr. Adinde who was recently appointed NCC’s DPA met with the ICT journalists to acquaint himself with the journalists and seek their continued support in reporting the activities of the Commission and the telecom industry at large.
“NCC is a reference regulatory agency in Africa. People come to Nigeria to study our system. We do not compete with any body in Nigeria, we compete with ourselves”, Adinde said.
Adinde was making references, to the milestone achievement of the NCC since its inception in 1996, its regulatory feats since the launch of the mobile phone networks in 2001, and more especially during the remarkable achievements during the first five-year term of the current EVC, professor Umar Danbatta, whose work has earned him a second term of five years, recently.
NCC has pushed telecom development from 400,000 phone lines in 2000 to over 196 million by June in 2020, and 128.7 internet subscribers up from its paltry less than 50,000 in 2000. Broadband penetration has moved so astronomically under the current EVC to peak at 41. Per cent by June this year surpassing industry predictions.
Of note, however, to which Adinde drew attention at the meeting, are the various consumer-centric initiatives for which the EVC has received several awards.
He said that on assumption of office (during the first tenure) on August 4, 2015, Prof. Danbatta has shown sterling performance and exceptional leadership qualities which, he said had helped in accelerating the growth of the telecoms sector.
He hinted that the diligent implementation of NCC’s auspicious strategic 8-Point Agenda, which Prof. Danbatta put in place provided the basis for most of the Commission’s achievements in the last five years, especially in the areas of service availability, accessibility and affordability.
He reeled other outstanding achievements under the EVC in the past five years in the areas of the sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Quality of Service (QoS) delivery, broadband infrastructure deployment, broadband penetration, effective spectrum utilisation, consumer empowerment, technology innovation as well as the Commission’s efforts with respect to curbing fraudulent Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration and 112 Emergency Number towards ridding the country of insecurity, among others.
Adinde specifically mentioned the ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ facility which gives subscribers the freedom to choose what messages to receive from the various networks. With this Direction the operators have been mandated to dedicate a common Short Code (2442) which will enable subscribers take informed decisions.
He also made reference to the National Emergency Number 112 which provides succour to Nigerians in the nation’s collective efforts to fight the spread of Coronavirus pandemic, also known COVID-19.
The DPA also spoke of the 622 Toll-Free Number that enables customers to escalate unresolved complaints or complaints that were not satisfactorily resolved by service providers to the NCC for resolution.
In his response, the Chairman of NITRA, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, congratulated the DPA on his recent assumption of the role at NCC.
Mr. Onwuegbuchi said that NITRA members are willing to support the Commission in enlightening the consumers, specifically on achievements in the industry and pointing out ways to resolve challenges they (consumers) may face.