Telecommunications operators that frustrate porting processes under the ongoing Mobile Number Portability scheme will be fined N200,000 by the Nigerian Communications Commission for each affected subscriber.
The Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, Ms. Josephine Amuwa, revealed this to our correspondent in an interview in Lagos on the sidelines of a workshop for judges on legal issues in the telecommunications sector on Friday.
She said many Nigerian subscribers were actually porting, but more needed to be done to encourage them to further embrace the option.
Amuwa said, “For every subscriber that wants to port, but is not allowed by the operator, a fine of N200,000 will be paid by the operator. If, for instance, a donor operator does not allow 10 people to port out of its network, it means N200,000 multiplied 10,” she explained.
“We want Nigerians to know that when they are not enjoying a network, they should port to another network and not buy a new SIM card. This is because nobody knows you with the new number. A lot of people think that because they can buy a new SIM card, they don’t have to port.”
In his address, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said as robust as the Nigerian Communications Act was, some other laws were still required to support telecommunications activities in the country.
In that regard, he said the commission was looking forward to the passage of the cybercrime law to support its efforts at increasing cyber security, adding that NCC was in support of a data protection law to secure the database created during the SIM card registration exercise.
Juwah, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Mr. Okechukwu Itanyi, commended the effort of the National Assembly towards passing a law on radioactive emissions in order to enlighten members of the public, some of whom were still thinking that all telecoms equipment emitted hazardous materials.
The NCC boss said, “As a major player in the economic reforms going on in our country today, NCC appreciates that no such reforms will stand the test of time without the foundation of due process and rule of law.
“That is the philosophy behind the bold step in exposing our judges to issues in telecommunications law.”
In his address, the Administrator, National Judicial Institute, Justice Umaru Eri, said in the last couple of years, Nigeria had witnessed a lot of transformation in the telecoms industry; but not without some legal issues emanating from them.
“Just recently, the country witnessed yet another milestone in the telecoms industry, which is number portability. This development, among other innovations, will surely generate some legal issues for determination by courts in a few days ahead,” he said.