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Federal government never authorised NCC to hike price of data – Minister

Senatesenate

The Federal Government on Wednesday dismissed claims that it directed telecommunications operators to increase the price of data subscriptions by December 1.

Reports had it that effective from tomorrow (Thursday) Nigerians will begin to pay more for data services.

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Reacting to the reports, the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, while featuring on RayPower FM’s Fact File programme, said he was never a party to the planned tariff hike for data.

Insisting that government did not authorise telecoms operators to raise the tariffs, Shittu assured Nigerians that the government would look into the matter and that it would continue to protect their interest.

Shittu said, “There are reasons for what they have done. The reasons, I’m sure, will not be political; the reason will be more of logistics and all of that and as you have requested me to do I will do that.

“But I want to say that I was not privy to it, I was not party to it. Government never gave any such instruction and the government, as the representative of the people, have never done that; that the voice of Nigerians must not be muscled.

“This government came into the democratic process and it has a duty to continue to protect the interest of Nigerians and I can assure you, we will do that and we will do the needful in protecting the rights and privileges of Nigerians.”

On the issue of unsolicited text messages by telecom operators, Shittu said “About six months ago I had cause to invite all the telecom operators and virtually read the riot act to them. If that has not been done I can assure you it will be done. We are concerned about the interest of Nigerians.

“We are concerned that Nigerians should not be taken for ride. As the minister of communications, I’m also a victim just like every other Nigerian. I also suffer the same fate as telecom operators, so let me assure you that we will redouble our efforts to curtail the excesses of the telecom operators.”

Recall that barely three hours after the Senate passed a resolution asking telecommunications service providers to stop the planned increase in data tariffs, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, announced the immediate suspension of the proposed new tariff .

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