The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has threatened to sanction any of its licencees implicated in masking of international telephone calls.
Masked calling is a technique used in e-commerce to protect buyers’ and sellers’ personal phone numbers..
The Commission’s Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, who gave this hint in a statement on Monday indicated that possible penalties that might be imposed on erring companies could range from the revocation of their licences to suspension of their operations, amongst others.
Some licensed companies suspected to be engaging in such dealings include, Niconnx Communication Ltd, Breeze Micro Ltd, Solid Interconnectivity and Exchange Telecommunications Ltd, Medallion Communications Ltd and Interconnect Cleaning House Nig. Ltd.
Ojobo stated that the Commission and senior operatives from the nation’s security services met with representatives of the licencees last Wednesday in Abuja on the matter during which the companies were confronted with some of the evidences at the disposal of the commission and were given another opportunity to defend themselves.
He clarified further: “In accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act and its subsidiary regulations, the implicated licencees have been given till the Jan. 31 to show cause why the commission should not either revoke or suspend their operating licences.
“(This is) in view of evidence of their involvement now at the disposal of the commission and the security agencies. Because of the critical impacts of this nefarious practice on national security and consumer experience, the commission is determined to decisively deal with any of its licencees implicated in the scam.
“We do not want to expose the country to any further embarrassment. At the very least, serious sanctions would be imposed on them, if it is found that their involvement does not justify revocation of their licences,” the statement said.
The Commission’s Director stated further that the regulatory body had taken the pains to strictly follow the provisions of the applicable laws, so that no one could claim to be unfairly treated given the severity of the planned sanctions.
He, however, confirmed that that customer experience data monitored by the commission indicated that there was a noticeable reduction in the volume of masked calls being received by subscribers, adding that this is the result of the aggressive measures the commission had taken to deal with the menace.
Ojobo assured that despite the reduction in the level of the meance, the Commission was not taking anything for granted as it will continue to monitor all licencees, regardless of their sizes or the scope of their operations.
He threatened that “anyone found wanting would be strictly dealt with in accordance with the law.”