" ITREALMS: Fundraising Shortcode ban: NCC insists on due process, as APC plans court action

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fundraising Shortcode ban: NCC insists on due process, as APC plans court action

The last may not have been heard over the recent ban of All Progressives Congress (APC) mobile telecom shortcode by the telecom regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for lack of due process, ITRealms reports.

This is coming as ITRealms reports that APC has advanced plans to take the Commission to court, while NCC insisted, its action was not political but applying the rules of the game set long time ago before this electioneering campaign.
ITRealms recalls that the All Progressives Congress was reportedly using mobile short codes for its fundraising Short Messaging Service (SMS) on which NCC said did not pass through due process and amounts to short-changing Nigerians, especially unsuspecting electorates.
But reports reaching ITRealms indicates that APC lawyers are dusting their cupboard to drag NCC to court, attributing it to a libel action against for stopping APC mobile fundraising platform.
Also, Elombah Reports, quoted the Lagos state Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), who doubles as the Chairman Buhari-Osinbajo Presidential Campaign Fundraising Committee in Abuja on Sunday.
As said by Fashola, the commission’s ban on the party’s mobile fundraising shortcode was a breach of constitutional provisions and amounts to double standards.
He stressed that the party has no other choice than to seek legal redress of the action.
According to him, the directive to shut the platform was contained in a letter dated January 19, with reference number NCC/CAB/GEN/2015 VOL.1/004, which was signed by officials of the NCC.
Fashola noted that the letter was signed the Director of Consumer Affairs, Mrs Maryam Bayi, and Head of Legal and Regulatory Services, Mr. Yinka Akinloye, on behalf of the NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Eugene Juwah.
He further alleged that NCC was operating double standards, recalling that in 2010, approval was granted the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organisation to raise funds using such a platform, but that the APC was being denied the same right in 2015.
“We have advised our lawyers to go to court; they are preparing the papers now. In 2010, approval was given to the Jonathan/Sambo campaign to raise fund (using such a platform). The rule seems to have changed in 2015,” he alleged.
Mr. Fashola noted that even though the platform was established when APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, was still seeking the party’s nomination as flag bearer, “it is still up and running and supporters can still donate.”

Meanwhile, responding to newsmen quest in Abuja, Monday, EVC, NCC Dr. Juwah said they at the Commission were not focusing on any political party but the telecom operator, who failed to apply appropriately for the use of such short codes.

“You’re allowed to raise money, but you must conform to the rules of NCC. We didn’t make these rules looking at elections. We made these rules for the interest of development of telecommunications in Nigeria and we would keep those rules whether there are elections or not” he insisted.
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Pix; Juwah and Fashola

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