Worried by the recurrent cycle of fraudsters deploying their trade via fake and substandard mobile devices, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other government agencies, yesterday set up committees to combat the situation.
The two joint committees set up are the Project Steering Committee (PSC), comprising the Infrastructure Concession & Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Federal Ministry of Communications and the NCC; and the Project Delivery Team (PDT) which draws representation from the Federal Ministry of Communications, the ICRC, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the NCC.
The committees, with specific terms of references, are to work together to ensure the implementation of Mobile Devices Management Systems (DMS), a Public-Private Partnership project, aimed at combatting the proliferation of fake, counterfeit, substandard and cloned mobile communications devices in the telecommunication industry.
While inaugurating the committees in Abuja, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the move was in line with the mandate of the Commission, as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003, to type-approve all devices used in the telecommunications industry and to ensure that all devices used in the telecommunications industry are in line with agreed standards and specifications.
According to him, the principal objective of the proposed DMS project is to “establish a secure and comprehensive single-window solution that will enable the Commission to implement a proven solution in the Nigerian environment that is sustainable and demonstrate value for money in addition helping to address the various concerns that have been raised with the NCC from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in our regular interactions on security matters as it concerns the telecommunications industry.”
He said the increasing cybercrime, evasion of taxes, terrorism and health and safety concerns raised by the use of stolen, counterfeit and substandard devices in Nigeria is a responsibility which the NCC takes seriously.
“In 2015, organised a stakeholder forum aimed at developing recommendations that could influence decision and policy directions, leading to solutions to combat the issue of counterfeit and substandard Information and Communication technology (UCT) devices in the country. Based on the importance of the project to the NCC, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the ICRC were engaged for a no-objection to advertise for International Competitive Bidding (ICB) process towards the acquisition of an effective MDMS solution, adding that the ICRC subsequently recommended the establishment of the two committees to fast-track the process,” he said.
Representative of the Minister of Communications, Chief Adebayo Shittu and Permanent Secretary at the ministry, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, commended the NCC for the initiative, stressing that she was impressed with the comprehensive and clear terms of reference given to the committees.
“The ministry has no doubt that thorough implementation of the terms of references as reeled out by Prof. Umar Danbatta in his presentation, will ensure effective delivery of the project aimed at sanitizing the economy of fake devices with their attendant challenges,” she said.
Also, Director, PPP Resource Department of ICRC, Mr. Michael Ohiani, said as the agency in charge of regulatory oversight over all PPP initiatives of government, “The Commission would support the process to ensure transparency of the process and value for money invested on the project.
“The constitution of the PSC and PDT are to ensure that projects are delivered in a sustainable manner and in the overall interest of the country and we would work with all stakeholders in this project to ensure effective implementation,” he said.