By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC) has said that the challenge it is presently grappling with is the rising cases of cybercrime and e-fraud using telecommunications platforms.
The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, stated this in an address at the NCC special day at the 40th edition of the Kaduna International Trade Fair.
Danbatta said cybercrime consists of illegal activity conducted on a computer or mobile device connected to the internet.
Represented at the occasion by Mr. Okechukwu Aninweke, Head of Internal Policy Review Unit, Danbatta advised consumers of telecoms services not to open email that is unfamiliar and also note that banks will not request personal information over the internet.
He said as a regulator, the NCC will continue to protect consumers, stressing that where the service provider continues to fail to improve services to the detriment of the consumers, the commission will apply appropriate regulatory sanctions against such service provider.
He said: “Another challenge that is on the commission’s front burner is the rising documented cases of cybercrime and e-fraud using telecommunications platforms.
“Cybercrime consists of illegal activity conducted on a computer or mobile device connected to the internet. The Commission advices all our consumers not to open email that is unfamiliar and also note that banks will not request personal information over the internet.
“In the event that this unfortunate circumstance should take place, call your bank immediately to freeze the affected accounts.
”Secondly, report to your service provider for further actions to be taken in retrieving your number.
“As your regulator, please rest assured that where the service provider continues to fail to improve services to the detriment of the consumers, the commission will apply appropriate regulatory actions and sanctions against such service provider.”
He said in the course of regulating the industry, the NCC had always recognised the importance of the consumer in the telecoms sector and believes in the popular saying that “consumer is king”.
Danbatta said the Commission also identifies the consumer’s role in the development of the telecoms sector, adding that they deserve to have value for their investment.
“This is because providing quality services to consumers promotes competition amongst service providers,” he said.
According to him, the NCC Special Day at the trade fair provided a platform for direct interface to look at issues confronting stakeholders in the telecoms sector.
”We believe that telecommunications services are very critical to the overall socio-economic development of the Nigerian citizenry.
”In addition, as the independent telecoms regulator in Nigeria, we recognise that the consumers of telecommunications services deserve to get value for their money, and be treated as a very important stakeholder in the scheme of things as far as service delivery is concerned,” he said.
The NCC chief said the issue of empowerment and protection of the consumers occupies a prominent position in the eight-point agenda of his administration at the commission.
”This trade fair offers us an opportunity to interact with you for the purpose of informing, educating and protecting you as consumers of telecommunications services.
“It is our responsibility at the Commission to identify key challenges and quickly to deal with them.
“One of these challenges is unsolicited text messages. We have evolved a solution called Do-Not-Disturb (DND) in which consumers are being advised to send ‘STOP’ to a code 2442′ to stop all unsolicited text messages.
”There are also options that will enable you to stop particular types of messages when you send ‘HELP to 2442’.
“We are again urging you to take advantage of this code. In addition to this, we also continue to drum to the ears of the consumers about the availability of the toll free telephone number 622 with which consumers can lodge complaints to the commission if their service providers refuse, or are unable to resolve such complaints when it is reported to them,” he said.