Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr. Musa Istifanus (Pic from Thisday)

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Federal government has charged private and public operators of radio frequency spectrum and radiocommunications equipment without government permission to regularize their operations or face sanction.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr.  Musa Istifanus sounded the warning during A-2 Day Sensitization Workshop titled Implications of Irregular and Illegal use of Radio Frequency through physical/virtual meeting holding at the Atrium Event Centre, Port Harcourt.

He said the licensees who have not regularize their authorization should apply to the Ministry to obtain appropriate authorization to avoid sanctions or possible prosecution.

Represented by the Technical Assistance, Engr. Patrick Oghuma through virtual stated that members of the public, private companies and organizations were advised and encouraged to cooperate with Ministry’s officials that are on regular routine inspection duties of premises in order to curb incidences of irregular and illegal use of radio frequency spectrum and operation of radiocommunication equipment without due authorization.

He informed members of the public and all stakeholders that the Ministry’s enforcement team is also on regular inspection duties of premises that have radiocommunications installations, especially those that use walkie-talkie radios to ensure that they are duly authorized to use such radios.

Istifanus pointed out that all licenses of the Ministry are expected to fulfill their financial obligations by paying up the annual renewal fees as required by their licence conditions to avoid withdrawal of their licence(s).

The Permanent said that Spectrum Monitoring Reports in the past few months indicate that individuals and some organizations use the radio frequency spectrum and operate radiocommunication equipment without due authorization.

In his words, “out of 300 frequencies that were monitored recently, 106 of them were found to be used without due licence. It should be noted that such users could either cause harmful interference to duly licensed users or pose security threat to the nation, because they neither have licence to use the frequencies nor the permission to operate radiocommunication equipment”.

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He said the Ministry obtained Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval in 2017 to procure state-of-the-art radio spectrum monitoring and denial of service equipment.

The equipment is used to monitor the radio frequency spectrum to help in minimizing incidences of harmful interference by radiocommunications operators through irregular and illegal use of the scarce radio frequency spectrum resource amongst many other uses and to deny service to those entities that blatantly refuse to obtain licence or fulfil their financial obligations to the Ministry/Government.

In his presentation, the Director (Radio Monitoring System), Engr. Kilyobas Binga pointed out that the Ministry has |Five radio monitoring centres in South West, Northwest, South South, and Abuja and the six monitoring centre would be cited in South East for efficient and effective monitoring of the entire radio frequency space of the country.

He added that, spectrum monitoring is one of the key elements of a national spectrum management system which support frequency planning, assignment process, licensing and enforcement.

In his contribution, the Deputy Director-General, National Commission on Small Arms & Light Weapons Control (NATCOM), Professor Atte Timothy stated that there was frequency jamming which made some people to jam security intelligence and stated  the need to come out with standing order on how to regulate the use of walking taking equipment in the country.

Earlier, the representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Brigadier General E.O. Agbebaku noted that spectrum management monitoring is one of the key elements of national spectrum management system adding that the Military is ready to collaborate with the Ministry to cover the existing gap of distance frequency and resistance to enforcement spectrum rules and regulations

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