Stakeholders in the Nigerian telecom space have endorsed a book titled “Nigerian Telecommunications Law and Regulation”, stressing that law and regulation are two critical pillars, which influence the speed and impact of innovation in the telecoms sector.
Specifically, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof, Umar Danbatta, who was the Chairman and Lead Presenter of the book co-authored by Quasim Odunmbaku, a telecoms regulatory professional at the NCC and Rotimi Akapo, a lawyer, who specializes in Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) practice, noted that law and regulations typically lag behind technology. Thus, the book is coming at the right time when telecom is enabling other sectors of the economy.
“As important as law and regulations, they typically lag behind the technology – it, therefore, behooves on all legal and regulatory practitioners in the sector to keep abreast of developments so that knowledge gaps do not stifle innovation and/or deny consumers of the optimum value,” he said.
Represented by the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management at NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, the EVC admitted that there is a noticeable paucity of well-researched books and reference materials on the legal and regulatory regime governing telecommunications and indeed the ICT sector in Nigeria.
“I am, therefore, delighted that the authors of “Nigerian Telecommunications Law and Regulation” have taken up the challenge and have produced a comprehensive reference material which touches on practically every aspect of the subject,” he added.
The official public presentation of the book was done by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, who, incidentally was a former ECSM at NCC, and had worked closely with one of the authors. Dare described the book written in 18 chapters and over 600 pages as “a compendium that will greatly enrich the level of knowledge needed to enhance telecoms growth.”
The reviewer of the book, Dr. Mohammed Suleh-Yusuf, after an insightful review of the book, said, “The book is highly useful to practitioners and lay readers alike. It serves as a window into what shapes the industry and ensures readers are familiar at the surface, to the basic rules and norms that influence the industry.”
Other telecoms stakeholders have overwhelmingly endorsed the book, describing it as good reference material and comprehensive guide, reference material and source-book on the policy, legal and regulatory framework governing the Nigerian telecommunications sector, which, many stakeholders said, will fill a critical contemporary knowledge gap for legal practitioners, investors and the academia.
According to the Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Operations, Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), Akinwale Goodluck, “As an industry practitioner, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and recommend it very strongly for everyone with an interest in the Industry. It also provides invaluable insight for other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to learn from the Nigeria experience.”
Immediate past President, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, and incumbent ATCON President, Ike Nnamani, aligned in their views, saying the authors have challenged the industry by putting together an encyclopaedia behind the growth of the Telecommunications industry from the perspective of legal, regulatory, economic, social and technological impacts.
In his comment, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, said “the book carefully dissects the policies, rules, regulations and industry best practices which makes the Nigerian telecommunications industry the success story that it is today, despite numerous challenges.”
Other stakeholders, who rated the book very high both in contents and relevance to industry practitioners include Chairman, Section of Business Law, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ayuli Jemide; Director, Legal & Regulatory Affairs/Company Secretary, Airtel Networks Limited, Shola Adeyemi; Principal Partner and Head, ICT Law & Regulation, Sceptre Law, Lagos, Otu Etuk; Prof. Abiola Sanni of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, among others.
The stakeholders were in accord that the book, which sets out with great clarity and in the greatest detail the history, current status and how to navigate the policies and regulation of the Nigerian telecommunications sector in the real world, is a must-read for regulators, investors, scholars and industry practitioners.