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NCC reiterates commitments to checkmating call masking by service providers

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The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has assured telecom consumers that it would stop masking of calls by service providers in the country.

Mrs Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, NCC Director of Consumer affairs Bureau gave the assurance on Thursday in Ogbomoso at the 100th edition of the Consumer Outreach Programme (COP).

“With respect to Call Masking/Refilling, the Commission is working seriously to abate menace of this ugly development,” she added.

According to the Director, the commission would also deploy appropriate technology as a strategy to combat the menace.

Onwuegbuchulam added that NCC was working on the issuance of Direction to Multi National Organisations (MNOs) to explore every technical means not to allow their networks to be used for call masking and SIM boxing activities.

She said the Commission was creating awareness on call masking through different social platforms and through various outreach programmes to educate consumers and encourage them to report cases to NCC.

“We are embarking on continuous compliance, monitoring and enforcement activities to detect victims of call masking and investigate channels used to commit the illegality.

“Also the Commission is in the process of choosing the best from a list of technology solutions used in other countries, to block the devices, track and apprehend the culprits,” she added.

Onwuegbuchulam said that the Commission would tighten Subscribers Identity Module (SIM) registration process across all networks to reduce the availability of SIMs for SIM-boxing.

The Director noted that the Commission has been inundated with various complaints of unsolicited text messages and calls as well as refusal to roll over unused data at the expiration of data bundle by service providers.

According to Onwuegbuchulam, the Commission, as consumer-centric institutions developed 2442 DND Short Code to solve unsolicited text messages and calls.

She added that the Commission has directed service providers to roll over unused data for a period of time ranging from one day to seven days.

The Director said the Commission has developed 622 toll-free line through which consumers can lodge complaints for any service issues to the NCC.

“I need to emphasise that failure of the operators to comply with the directives attract appropriate penalties and sanctions,” she said.

In his opening remarks, Mr Sunday Dare, Executive Commissioner (Stakeholders Management) said the COP was to educate telecom consumers and other stakeholders on the contemporary issues generating interest in the industry.

He also said the forum would serve as a feedback mechanism for the Commission in making regulatory interventions for the benefit of the Commission and the Service Providers.

“At the Nigerian Communications

Commission, the telecom consumers are the target beneficiaries of all our activities which make them enjoy primary focus in terms of ensuring that they get good quality service, value for money spent, timely and fair redress of complaints from unwholesome practices.

“The theme: “Using Information and Education as Tools for Consumer Empowerment and Protection” has been carefully chosen to reflect one of the cardinal objectives of the Nigerian Communications Commission,” he added.

Dare noted that through empowerment, telecom consumers were fortified with necessary tools to be protected from market exploitation, and to make rational and informed decision when making choices of services.

“Consumer information and education is identified by the Commission as one of the most cost- effective mechanism that provides and guarantees consumer empowerment and education.

“Besides serving as a proactive way of protecting consumers from making wrong choices, it also serves as a preventive measure that protects consumers from being exploited and against fraud,” he added.

According to him, one of the fundamental rights of the telecom consumer is the right to be informed and educated.

“It is only through information and education that the consumers can be empowered to take the right decisions, especially when their rights, as consumers are trampled upon,” the Commissioner said.

The outreach programme was attended by students of LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, market women, artisans, representatives of the Police, FRSC, NCDSC, drivers unions and representative of the Soun of Ognbomoso.

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FG urged to declare state of emergency on federal roads, Senate tasks

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Disturbed by the deplorable conditions of road networks across the country, the Senate on Tuesday, charged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on all federal roads.
This was as the upper legislative chamber mandated  its Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA and National Planning to investigate the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA on the non-remittance of five percent user charge pump price of petrol.
Besides, the joint committees were also asked to investigate the non remittance of international vehicle transit charge accruing to FERMA and other established state roads maintenance agency.
These resolutions followed deliberations on a motion sponsored under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate rule by Senator Geshom Bassey (PDP Cross River South)  who lamented the deplorable state of federal roads in the country.
Presenting the motion, Senator Basset expressed concern that several thousands of lives have been lost to road accidents due to bad and un-motorable roads, while bad portion of roads are safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers on Nigerian highways.
Supporting the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) said the state of the federal highways are highly deplorable and that urgent attention is needed especially within this budget cycle to do something drastic to address the situation.
Utazi said “and like you prayed that the PPPRA should release the fund for totally provided for FERMA to do  it’s job.
“Mr President, the raining season is just gradually coming to an end and this is the opportunity for FERMA to go and start rehabilitating our roads so that Nigerians can move freely.
“This period is also the time for harvest and in order to ensure that farmers that are in the hinterland get to the appropriate market to get adequate prices for their goods, we  have to make sure the roads are properly done.
“You also know that because we don’t have the rail lines that should be in place, most of the goods and services that we move from one place to the other are done through trucking and if you continue to do trucking, you know that the life span of any  major federal highway may not last long.
“This is a very important motion moved at the most appropriate time to get the desired attention and I’m standing here lending my support and full weigh to get that being done knowing fully well that those of us from the south east are the major complainants of the bad roads in this country and we hope that we get the desired attention from FERMA if  this motion scales through.”
In his remark, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said he believe that every part of the country suffers from this problem of deplorable  roads.
He expressed optimism that the  committees mandated to look into the matter will  swing into action and attend to the issue associated with this motion.
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Metro

SAD… Taraba INEC REC is dead

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The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) in Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf, is dead.
INEC Secretary, Rose Oriarian-Anthony, said the REC died on Saturday night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he had been on admission.
She said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission regrets to announce the death of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf.
“He died last (Saturday) night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he was on admission for sometime.
He was buried today (Sunday) September 29 2019 at 4pm in Maiduguri.
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Transgender: Sade Adu’s daughter finally becomes a man (PHOTOS)

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Izaak and Mum

Sade’s transgender son has shared a heartfelt message of thanks to the soul singer, as he completes his transition from female to male.

Izaak Theo Adu, born Mickailia ‘Ila’ Adu, has spent the past six months in recovery after undergoing phalloplasty surgery, the reconstructive procedure typically undergone by transgender and non-binary people.

After returning home to his family, Izaak shared a sweet photo of himself hugging Sade, 60, along with a message praising the iconic singer for her unwavering support. In the Instagram post, Izaak wrote: ‘It’s been a long hard road but We did it!! We are coming home!!!! ‘Thank you for staying by my side these past 6 months Mumma. Thank you for fighting with me to complete the man I am. ‘Thank you for your encouragement when things are hard, for the love you give me. The purest heart. I love you so much. Queen of queens ♥️ #mumma #lioness #queen#iloveyou.’

Izaak is Sade’s only child from her former relationship with reggae music producer Bob Morgan.

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