NCC didn’t stop APC’s fund raising platform, says Juwah
| Jan. 29, 2015, 7:40 a.m.
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
As the electioneering heats up between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) this week further clarified that it did not at any time ordered Global System of Mobile Communications (GSM) operators to shut platforms used by political parties to raise funds.
Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, specifically said there was never a time the Commission tampered with any platform of the APC for its campaign fund – raiser, as alleged.
He explained that the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babtunde Fashola may have been wrongly advised on the matter.
He said: “At no time did the APC, Fashola or any party for that matter enter into any agreement with the Commission for campaign services. The only time we got to know of this was when subscribers began to inundate our offices with complaints that their privacies were being invaded through unsolicited text messages for votes by the political party. This invasion of privacy came on the end of airtime balance check or re-load of airtime.”
“But because we cannot joke with over 135 million active subscribers, majority of whom may not be interested in political campaigns, we wrote to the GSM operators who had entered into this deal with the political parties to stop such messages to avoid being branded as partisan.
“We also wrote to other service providers not involved by advising them accordingly. Even at that, the NCC did not order any operator to shut any short code for raising funds.”
Earlier, the NCC had clarified in a press statement by the Director Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo that Value Added Service (VAS) providers (custodians of short codes) who ride on the platform of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) should ordinarily give a seven- day notification to the Commission before releasing any adverts and promos on the networks, lamenting that the Commission did not get any notification from them.
“Even at that, the Commission did not stop any short code from being used by any political party who are served by the VAS providers,” Ojobo explained.
He explained that the Commission is a non- partisan regulator and the rules guiding its operations are tailored along lines of global best practices.
“So our intervention is principally to protect the subscribers from unnecessary invasion of their privacies as within the limits of NCC Act and regulations” Ojobo said.