By Nse Anthony-Uko
(Sundiata Post) – Following the compliance check and pre-enforcement notice given to illegal automated vehicle tracking operators, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has begun a clampdown exercise to track and prosecute more than 20 illegal Automated Vehicle Tracking Services (AVTS) companies.
Speaking to journalists, NCC Zonal Controller, Lagos on Wednesday, Engineer Kenneth Uzoekwe disclosed that about 50 illegal AVTS operators were discovered, after which the pre-enforcement notices were given to them. He however, disclosed that about 20 of the operators failed to comply with the directives of the Commission.
“After the issuance of the pre-enforcement notices, we got some responses from some companies. The truth is that some companies actually have licences but some of their licences have expired and they have not renewed, which means also that they are now operating illegally. Those ones that are operating with expired licences have come forward after receiving the pre-enforcement notice and they have actually initiated process of renewing their licenses.
“However, some did not respond at all and as a result of this, we have a mandate not to just keep our arms folded and allow people to operate illegally without getting the requisite authorization”, he said. Engr. Uzoekwe added that the Commission would clampdown on the companies and possibly prosecute them according to the provision of section 31 of the NCA 2003.
“Upon conviction of any illegal operator, he or she will be liable for a fine or imprisonment at the same time. Once we get there, it is either we shut them down and ask them to come over to Abuja to clarify themselves and then get authorization with fines later on or they would be prosecuted according to the law of the federation.”, he said.
Meanwhile, principal manager, compliance monitoring and enforcement department at NCC, Mr. Emeka Obi advised vehicle owners to stop patronizing unlicensed AVTS operators. “Most vehicle owners probably don’t 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.
“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 a risk”, he disclosed. He further stated that the activities of illegal operators is a threat to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“The telecoms sector contributes significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and when some companies are operating illegally without contributing their quota in terms of payment of taxes and other dues to the authorities, then the sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP is threatened”, he said.
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