To reiterate its commitment to clean the telecommunications industry of non approved and counterfeit equipments, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has called on stakeholders for proper synergy.
The commission at the sensitisation workshop on equipment type approval held in Lagos said the activities of counterfeiters are not only detrimental to human health but also contribute to the poor quality of service in the industry.
Speaking to stakeholders, NCC addressed that the law empowers it to carry out type approval of all communications equipment for use in the Nigerian market.
As a result, the commission warned peddlers of non-type approved telecoms equipment in Nigeria to desist from such acts, or prepare to go to jail, including payment of fines.
In his opening remarks, the Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC, Bako Wakil stressed it was important to sensitise stakeholders on health and safety issues as well as quality of service challenges associated with the use of non-approved or substandard phones and other devices in the industry.
Wakil, who was represented by Assistant Director, Technical Standard and Network Integrity, NCC, Ikemefuna Anthony, reminded participants at the workshop that the objective of the equipment Type Approval is to ensure that communications equipment intended for the Nigerian market have fully complied with Nigerian and international standards. This is in line with the Electromagnetic Radiation, Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC), and Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) for human safety and other regulatory key performance indicators for the promotion of better Quality of Service.
According to him, the Commission is aware of the proliferation of sub-standard phones and other counterfeit equipment by unpatriotic elements in the society.
NCC therefore solicited the participation of all stakeholders especially, phone dealers in the crusade to free the telecoms markets from non-approved phones and other devices.
“Quality of Service in general is a major challenge in the industry. The challenges are mainly due to capacity constraints as a result of environmental factors such as insecurity, vandalism of telecom installations, theft of generators, delay in getting right of way, delay in securing planning permissions for network expansion, lack of constant power supply, and community issues amongst others.
Besides, he said: “Efforts are under way amongst relevant stakeholders to declare telecom facilities as critical national infrastructure through legislation. This underscores the recognition of telecoms as a tool for national development and facilitator of socio-economic activities of a nation.”
In his paper, the Head of Wireless Network Unit, NCC, Chukwuma Nwaiwu, said type approval enables protection for telecoms networks; ensures public safety from dangerous equipment; enables spectrum optimisation to facilitate service quality, and ensure compatibility and interoperability of the equipment connected.
Nwaiwu, who said it is illegal to operate telecoms business in Nigeria without licence, disclosed that NCA Act 2003, Section 133 (1) says that any person who sells or installs a non-type approved equipment risks one year jail term or N100,000 fine or both,” while rallying stakeholders for support.
Speaking on Effect of Counterfeiting Devices, a consultant, Dr. Fidelis Onah, said the business of counterfeit, fake and sub-standard good is one of the largest underestimated industry in the world, with impact on the global economy running into billions of dollars.
Onah, who called for collaborative efforts among all stakeholders, including the government, noted that with cheap overhead, high profits, and cloak and dagger business style, “these global black market industries are here to stay.”
Reiterating the importance of standards, he said this addresses issues like protocols, interfaces, design, among others, and maximises product functionality, compatibility, and facilitates interoperability.