By Oluwatobi Opusunju
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has warned that all Automated Vehicle Tracking Services (AVTS) operators in the country operating illegally without genuine license risk facing the wrath of the law. The Principal Manager, Enforcement Unit, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department at NCC, Mr. Emeka Obi, issued the warning recently in Lagos while embarking on a clampdown exercise on illegal AVTS operators in the country.
According to him, Illegal operators do not only affect the quality of service, but also are threat to the over $68billion telecoms investment and GDP growth. He warned that any operator found will face the law duly.
“One of the mandates of the commission is to ensure fair competition and promote investment in the telecoms sector. So any operator found wanting, will be prosecuted and convicted.
“Upon conviction, the operator will be liable for a fine or imprisonment or both. We started the clampdown in Lagos on Tuesday this week and we have shut down five illegal operators in Lagos and the raid will be continuous,” Obi said
He stated that the raid came as a result of NCC’s findings of the existence of over 50 illegal operators in the AVTS segment of the telecoms sector. He also stated that out of the 50, between 13 and 18 was licensed but with expired licenses.
“The ones we clamped down are the remaining operators who have expired licence and those without license at all, and the commission is mandated to ensure that they comply,” he stated.
He, however, urged all vehicle owners to avoid illegal operators but patronize only licensed AVTS operators with genuine license and expired one, informing them that information and data of all licensed AVTS operators could be accessed on the Commissions website or call the NCC Toll free line to obtain information on genuine operators.
“Most vehicle owners probably do not take into cognizance that they have to check the legality of the operations of the operator they want to patronize first, and that is why we are asking them to seek information from the commission,” he urged.
“They are not liable, but the car-tracking firms operating illegally are those we hold responsible because they are our licensees. The vehicle owners are only running at a risk,” he added.