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NCC shuts down firm for illegal operation

By The Citizen
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Wednesday in Lagos, clamped down on Owntel Communications for allegedly offering telecommunications services to customers, without obtaining operational licence to do so.

The NCC enforcement team, led by the Head of Enforcement, Mr. Salisu Abdul, visited the office of Owntel on Isheri Road in Ojodu, Lagos, where it confiscated some of its equipment as evidence for illegal operation.

Owntel is offering telecommunications services on vehicle tracking, as well as sales and installation of fixed and mobile telecommunication terminals, without operational licence, which NCC described as an offense amounting to defrauding of the Federal Government.

Apart from offering vehicle tracking devices, Owntel is also involved in the sales and installation of telecommunication equipment like CCTV Camera, GSM terminal, Routers and Internet Modems, including Walkie Talkie and other mobile devices, which the law clearly stipulates that a person must be competent in the sales and installation and in the delivering of such services, through the official obtaining of operational licence from the telecoms regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission, before embarking on such business.

Addressing journalists shortly after the raid, Abdul said: “Owntel is providing telecommunication services, especially vehicle tracking services, which involve network and data services that require licence, yet it is operating without any licence.”

He stated that the company was duly monitored for some months before taking the decision to clamp down on it.

According to him, NCC had in October 8 this year, written to Owntel, warning it of the implications of its action, and gave it time to respond to the NCC to beginĀ  the process of registration, but the company bluntly disregarded the warning and continued in the illegal business.

The firm's manager, who refused to speak to the enforcement team, was seen shouting aloud that the company had begun the process of licensing but has not completed it.

Head of Licensing at NCC, who was part of the NCC enforcement team, Mr. Mohammed Abaji said if Owntel had started the process of licensing, as claimed by the manager, the company would have completed the process long ago, as it takes only two days to process and complete registration process for licensing operations for sales and installations, while it takes 90 days to complete the registration and licensing for vehicle tracking services.

He advised customers to be careful in dealing with telecoms service providers, and always insist that the registration and licence number of any telecoms operator be printed on the receipt they issue to customers, as directed by the NCC.

He said NCC would seal up the business premises of Owntel, until a time when the company is issued with operational licence. - Thisday.