By Etuka Sunday
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Ibrahim Pantami has ordered broad policy deactivation of Automatic Voicemails on existing Phone Lines in the country.
Pantami said, the action was due to the latest trend of financial exploitation by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country, through the automatic activation of the Voicemail Service on their platforms.
A statement by the Spokesperson to the Minister of Communications & Digital Economy, Uwa Suleiman (Mrs) said, “based on recent reports reaching the office, the practice has gained momentum in recent times.
The Voicemail service should be accessed at the discretion of the subscriber and not by default.
“The Honourable Minister finds it worrisome and totally unacceptable, that telecoms subscribers incur financial charges, for a service they are compelled to use by default.
“Voicemail is not a popular service among mobile phone users in Nigeria, coupled with the language challenge among rural dwellers, who mostly do not understand the language deployed by these networks.
“It is apparent, that the recent clampdown on the exploitative activities of some Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country, has beamed the searchlight on the sector properly, and some unpatriotic elements in the system are devising subtle, ingenious methods of defrauding Nigerians.
“The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under the current leadership of Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), will neither overlook any acts, regardless of how subtle, that undermine the Anti Corruption Crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, nor condone any attempts to defraud Nigerians and indeed, all subscribers.
“In the light of this, Dr Pantami has issued a broad policy directive to the sector regulator Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to immediately ensure that issues regarding automatic voicemails are addressed on all existing phone lines and the subscribers, given the option of accessing the service via an activation code.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the rights of consumers are protected, while providing a conducive business environment for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), in line with global best practice,” the statement said.