The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that it will order network providers in the country to refund N36 billion to customers, TOPNAIJA.NG can confirm.
In a statement released on Wednesday and issued by Nnamdi Nwokike, the NCC director of public affairs, the commission said it has uncovered a large volume of forceful subscriptions and illegal deductions.
Nwokike said the commission discovered the irregularity after it carried out a long and comprehensive investigative audit into value-added services (VAS) subscriptions across all mobile network operators (MNOs) and VAS platforms.
He noted that the audit team analysed subscribers’ Call Detail Records from MNOs and subscription logs from VAS providers over a period of two years, leading to the conclusion that a huge percentage of VAS services were not voluntarily subscribed for.
He added that the audit team also found out that some providers had implemented disingenuous mechanisms by which a large number of innocent consumers were “forcefully” subscribed to VAS platforms, leading to regular deduction of their airtime without their consent.
“The NCC had initiated measures to tackle the menace. These include the institution of a comprehensive investigation and resolution process, the Do-not-Disturb (DND) facility, and the imposition of sanctions for breach,” he said.
“Disturbed by the persistent occurrence of the menace in spite of the measures, the commission carried out a long and comprehensive investigative audit into VAS subscriptions across all MNO and VAS platforms.
“The NCC investigative audit was led by the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department of the commission, with participation from other departments such as the Technical Standards and Network Integrity (TSNI), Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), Legal & Regulatory Services (LRS) and Licensing & Authorisation (L&A).”
He explained that based on the outcome of the investigative audit, the commission would shortly direct the indicted organisations to make refunds to affected consumers as appropriate.
“The commission is also considering and will impose appropriate sanctions as necessary. This outcome justifies the commission’s commitment to evidence-based interventions.
“NCC wishes to use the opportunity to inform the public that the commission may suspend or outrightly decommission some VAS platforms and services in the overall interest of consumers.”