Probe Emeka Mba Over Sale Of National Frequency To MTN, Group Urges Buhari | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Probe Emeka Mba Over Sale Of National Frequency To MTN, Group Urges Buhari

Posted: Oct 7, 2015 at 10:31 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

 A group, Integrity Youths, has called on President Muhammed Buhari to investigate the Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Emeka Mba, over what it described as the controversial sale of the 700MHz spectrum, a national frequency meant for telecommunications services, to telecoms giant, MTN Nigeria, for N34 billion.

“The era of impunity is gone. We should not encourage the rule of the thumb or rule of power as against rule of law. It is when we abide by these rules that we can say we now have positive change in Nigeria,” the group said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

It alleged that the sale was done without any government clearance as industry sources maintain that NBC cannot sell what does not belong to it.

It maintained that investigations show that the spectrum is rightfully the property of the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC).

According to the statement, “NFMC is said to allocate spectrum to government regulators in this case the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and NBC. Both NBC and NCC in turn assign frequencies to their licensees.

“When any spectrum is withdrawn from licensees, it reverts to the regulator which in turn returns the spectrum to NFMC. It is only NFMC that has the authority to sell by public auction the spectrum that NBC now purports to sell without due process.”

It will be recalled that Mr. Ojie Panama, a Senior Partner at a firm, Integrated Network Management Consultants, had recently blown the lid off the deal, urging that the spectrum be returned to the NFMC and calling on the Federal Government to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter with a view to punishing those involved in the infraction.

The group maintained that the era where things were done with total disrespect for the rule of law and impunity was over.

In his response, the NBC boss claimed that the spectrum was still under the control of NBC at the time it was sold, and that the licensing was handled transparently as part of the commission’s convergence service.

He did not, however, respond to the allegation that the NBC did not have any authority to conduct such sale which was also carried out in secrecy and without compliance with the procurement laws of Nigeria.

President of Integrity Youths, Comrade Joseph Akpan, maintained that NBC’s defense of what is obviously a flagrant violation of the law is a daring attempt at justifying illegality. He added that assuming the NBC has legal authorisation to sell the spectrum, did it follow through with the necessary bidding process? Where was it bided for and how many companies submitted their bids?

“The outright sale to MTN Nigeria is a disincentive to other investors, particularly as they could have come up with better bids in an open and transparent process. Certainly, a situation where eligibility of bidders is not authenticated prior to opening bids, and where bidders are not subjected to post-qualification test, where the accuracy of submitted document is ascertained, is obviously questionable.

“The kind of private sale that the NBC engaged in while ignoring other competitors in the country’s telecommunications market pollutes the business atmosphere. The transaction is made worse because it chose not to carry the NFMC along in the deal, cashing in on the country’s failure to achieve digital switch over to handle an issue clearly beyond its constitutional purview,” Akpan stated.

Source: The Will