The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has singled out the Nigerian media for their role in educating the Nigerian public about the Commission’s ‘2017 Year of the Consumer’ initiative. Thus, he said the Commission is determined to strengthen collaboration with it for increased education of telecoms consumers in the country.
Prof. Danbatta stated this during the 2019 Award/Appreciation Night hosted by the Kano Correspondent Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, which took place at Bristol Palace Hotel, Kano, where the EVC received recognition award for outstanding leadership and regulatory excellence exhibited since assuming office in 2015 as the country’s chief telecoms regulator.
Speaking at the forum with the theme: ‘Media and Good Governance: Issues and Challenges’, Danbatta disclosed that the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 shortcode instituted by the NCC for curbing unsolicited text messages and the NCC 622 toll-free Number for consumer complaints management have increased in usage because of effective public education by the media acting as a critical partner of the Commission.
Danbatta, who thanked the NUJ Kano Correspondent Chapel for the honour bestowed on him, took the audience on a memory lane on how the media had and have continued to help in publicising NCC’s Year of the Consumer initiative launched in 2017, with a philosophical focus to address critical consumer-related issues in the telecommunications industry.
According to him, two of the major derivatives of the initiative are the DND 2442 Short Code and the NCC toll-free number 622. “For me, the print and electronic media serve as an important interface between the agencies of government like the NCC and the public. I remember when we declared 2017 as the Year of the Consumer, we assembled the best, the crème of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to help disseminate the messages about the initiatives to the nook and cranny of the country,” Danbatta said.
The EVC stated that today, the DND Short Code has empowered Nigerians to stop receiving unsolicited text messages. He also declared that from a little half a million, the level of subscription to the Code is over 22 million and the number is growing.
“The same thing with our toll-free number 622 through which subscribers can lodge complaints about the quality of service, about when they observe their data declines at most alarming speed or when they are being subjected to unwholesome practices by the service providers. They can lodge their complaints using the 622 in English, Pidgin or local languages of Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba. Though the 622, we have succeeded in resolving more than a million complaints from consumers,” Danbatta said.
The NCC Chief Executive noted that the Commission couldn’t have achieved the success rates without an important partnership between the Commission and the journalists, who, he said, helped the Commission “to educate consumers on and popularised the availability and usage of the DND 2442 Short Code and the 622 Toll-free Number.”
He stressed that, based on the importance attached to media partnership, the NCC dedicates two engagements with the media every year. “We engage the media from the beginning of the year in order to inform them about our plans for subscribers in the industry and at the end of the year in order to tell them what progress we have made.”
Danbatta said by doing this, “Nigerians are very much aware of the activities of the Commission and therefore, the NCC relies on the media for the dissemination of important information about its activities to the public.”
Other notable indigenes of Kano State, who received recognition awards at the NUJ event, alongside Danbatta, include the Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullah Ganduje; his wife, Dr. Hafsat Gganduje; Chairman, Tofa Group, Isyaku Umar Tofa; and Managing Director, Kano Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Dr. Jamil Gwamna