By Emma Okonji
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator has extended its ongoing enforcement plan to Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, and Calabar in Cross River State, where it sealed up operations of most telecoms firms for violating the guidelines for the deployment of 5.4GHz frequency band in the states.
The enforcement team led by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr. Efosa Idehen, took the NCC compliance monitoring to the states on April 26 and 27, 2018 to enforce compliance with its guidelines for the deployment of service in the 5.4GHz frequency band.
The Commission, based on the guidelines for the deployment of service in the 5.4GHz frequency band, had issued a public notice dated April 3, 2018, warning unlicensed operators and the general public to vacate illegal transmission in the 5.4GHz frequency band within 14 days.
The deadline for vacation ended on April 17, 2018, following which the enforcement team visited the states and shut down the operations of Hot Minet Services located on 80 MCC Road, Calabar and United Bank for Africa (UBA) on Udo Udoma Banking layout, Uyo, for failing to comply with the guideline and the public notice issued by the Commission.
The team also confiscated the non-type approved equipment used by the operators in providing the alleged illegal services. The enforcement team directed them to obtain the requisite license before their premises would be unsealed.
Consequent upon the enforcement action, the radio equipment used in the provision of the service was removed and held in custody of the Commission. The team had to order for the arrest of officials of the bank for their resistance.
According to Idehen, “It is pertinent to state that itâ€™s a criminal offense to provide service in frequency band not validly assigned or licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission. This position is supported by the provision of Section 121 and 122 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.”
The punishment for the said violation is a fine for the initial fee for the relevant license; a fine not exceeding ten times the fee for the relevant license; imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year; or both such fine and imprisonment, Idehen added.,
He said the suspects have been handed over to the relevant security agency for discreet investigation and possible prosecution.