By Dipo Olowookere
Nigeria’s Minister of Communication, Mr Adebayo Shittu, has disclosed that the Federal Government never gave any directive to telecommunications operators in the country to increase prices of data from Thursday, December 1, 2016 as claimed.
Since the beginning of this week, Nigerians have continued to kick against messages sent to them via text messages by telecoms operators, informing them that from tomorrow, prices of data would go up and in some cases, by 100 percent.
Network providers claimed they were ordered by the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to raise data tariffs.
“Dear valued customer, effective 1st Dec 2016, we will review our data plans & prices in compliance with NCC directive,” a message from Etisalat to its subscribers read.
But speaking on Wednesday on RayPower FM’s Fact File programme, which was monitored in Lagos by Business Post, the Minister said he was never consulted before the announcement was made. He stressed that the government did not authorise the operators to raise the tariffs.
However, he assured Nigerians that the government would look into the matter and continue to protect their interests.
“I can tell you that I was never a party to it (data tariff hike). Government never gave any such instruction. This government believes in democratic process and we would continue to protect the interest of Nigerians. I can assure you we would do that (protect interest of Nigerians),” he said on the radio programme.
Also on the issue of subscribers still getting unsolicited messages from operators, Mr Shittu promised to take steps to stop the menace.
He lamented that he also gets such messages from his operator. “I am also a victim of unsolicited messages from operators, but I promise government will take pragmatic steps to stop this,” the Minister said.
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