By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, yesterday, threatened to sanction mobile network operators for violation of rules and regulations guiding their operations and justified its shutting down of All Progressives Congress, APC, SMS platform for fund-raising.
The Commission said the action of the mobile network operators in running a political advertisement for the APC was not in compliance with the provisions of the NCC guidelines on the use of shot codes.
The Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Mr. Tony Ojobo, who gave the warning in Abuja, said, the Commission did not err at all in shutting down the SMS platform, given that the mobile network operator in question ran foul of section 3 of NCC’s guidelines, by not applying officially to the Commission for approval, in accordance with section 3 of the NCC’s Act.
He quoted the section as saying: “The Commission shall receive written notification from the licensees for all advertisements for goods and services within a minimum of seven days of the proposed or planned publication of an advertisement, in order to ensure such advertisements meet the minimum standards and requirements.”
Ojobo, who buttressed the NCC’s stance with evidence, wondered why Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, and his party would accuse the Commission of being partisan in the matter, even when the governor passed through the same process before his re-election in 2011.
He said: “In 2010, the Commission, based on applications received across party lines, had granted codes for use by political parties to raise funds as well create awareness.
“We feel a need to clarify certain issues circulating in the press, especially in the light of inquiries we have been receiving in the last few days. Prior to Monday, January 19, 2015, the Commission was inundated with complaints from several subscribers to the effect that they were receiving messages from network operators to vote one political party or the other.”