By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
The Senate has summoned the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to respond to queries on the high rate of dropped calls and improper regulations on sim cards.
During a debate on the motion to this regards where the lawmakers resolved to summon the Executive Secretary, the senate also urged NCC to direct network providers to expand network infrastructures and monitor compliance to reduce the rate of dropped calls experienced by Nigerians.
The summon followed deliberation on a motion on the increasing rate of dropped calls and other unwholesome practices by telecommunications network operators in Nigeria sponsored by Buhari Abdulfatai and 20 other senators.
In his lead debate on the motion, Abdulfatai said Nigerians do not have the power to control bundle usage, nor the choice to restrict browsing.
He said all the GSM operators in Nigeria have recently been experiencing terrible congestions on their networks, thus, denying subscribers the ability to make or receive calls successfully.
“Operators also have an unfair advantage with dropped calls from per-minute users as callers end up paying for an entire minute if a call drops in between, especially within the first few seconds.
“Despite the warning issued by the NCC to telecom operators using the dropped call mechanism to defraud Nigerians by deducting money from phone users illegally, no serious penalty has been issued against any operator to date,” he said.
Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South) said the registration process of sim cards is flawed.
According to him, the issue is a clear exposition of the abuse to which the Nigerian people and government are subjected.
He stressed the need to recommend and follow up the process of sanctions “because the regulatory agencies are not doing enough.”
“Dropped calls have become a problem. In addition to sanctioning network providers, our regulatory agencies must also be held responsible,” he said.
In his remarks before ruling on the debate, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, while assuring Nigerians that the issue will be tackled, said:
“This time will be different. We pay through our noses and we are unjustifiably treated by these network providers. Everybody comes here and treat us differently. The DSTV and others do almost the same thing. At the appropriate time, we will have a public hearing.
“The NCC and other relevant agencies will be put to test. We feel they are inefficient and they are not doing enough. We are going to bark and bite this time around and if it requires blacklisting the operators, we will do that,” he said.