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Sue telecoms companies for sending unsolicited SMSs, NCC tell subscribers

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Call center operator with headset and business team

Vicky Ojo

Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has encouraged telecoms subscribers in Nigeria to drag the networks to court if they are inundated with unsolicited text messages at odd hours. According to the industry watchdog, the networks could be sued for invasion of their privacy.

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On why the commission is yet to ban telemarketing in Nigeria, it said it is a global practice but is restricted to between 8am and 8pm. When a network flouts that rule, the commission said subscribers can sue such telecoms service provider.

“You can’t stop it (unsolicited text messages) totally. It is a phenomenon all over the world. Tele-marketing is everywhere. It is not only in Nigeria. But the only thing is that it is regulated in such a way that it is not sent at a time that it disturbs people’s sleep,” the NCC Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, told PUNCH newspaper.

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In addition to the unsolicited SMSs, he said the subscribers could also “take telecoms firms to task,” based on poor services rendered to them.

He said: “I think time has come for people to assert their rights. It is only in the telecoms industry that the people want the regulator to do everything. People should also take responsibility at some point to demand their rights from their service providers. That is the point we have made. People can take service providers to court.

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“It is not everything that the regulator should handle. In order climes people have gone to court for even lesser matters. But in Nigeria everybody wants the regulator to do everything.  If somebody violates my privacy, why should I always meet with the regulator to seek redress?

“We need to be able to put our laws to test. It is a contract! Every network has a contractual obligation with which it is providing services to. And for every service they are providing there are terms and conditions. So if you violate the terms and conditions they should have a reasonable excuse, otherwise they can seek for redress.”

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