Monday, 31 October 2016

Nigeria loses N127b yearly to telecoms infractions

Nigeria loses about N127 billion yearly as a result of infractions of the laws, rules and cybercrimes, the Administrator, National Judicial Institute (NJI), Hon Justice Rosaline Bozimo said yesterday in Lagos.

She spoke at the opening of the seventh Annual Workshop for Judges on Legal Issues in Telecoms organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in conjunction with the NJC. She lamented that while the telecoms sector has grown with over 150miilion active mobile lines, allegations of fraudulent deductions from customers’ accounts, unsolicited messages and others have become a great concern in the industry.

She said another issue that is plaguing the country is the scourge of kidnapping which she said is on the rise, adding that security agencies have to struggle to identify devices and location of kidnappers and their victims.

“The Boko Haram terrorists use mobile lines to coordinate their terror activities. These, among other challenges, may require data and information generated from telecoms services (providers) to serve as evidence in the course of prosecution of related cases. Thus, the need for continuing education of judges in respect of the operations of the telecoms industry is essentially necessary in order to enable them make better informed decisions,”  Justice Bozimo said.

In his key note address, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said the NCC has advanced the use of information communications technology (ICT) for different aspects of national development.

Represented by Hon Justice Walter Ononghen (Justice of the Supreme Court), the CJN said: “With these new technologies and services, traditional business models and concept of regulation are now being challenged. In this context, policymakers, regulators and courts face significant challenges as the telecoms industry is growing fast into the more complex areas and form. The judiciary, as an arbiter cannot be left behind the times. We are currently undergoing various technological reformations and an ethical resurgence that is repositioning the third arm of government for better justice delivery.”

According to him, in keeping with best practices and the demands of a technology age, judges must possess a sound knowledge of the law and procedures while becoming proficient in the use of ICT to expedite justice delivery.

“The modern judiciary that we are creating through the introduction of the renowned Nigeria Case Management System (NCS) makes knowledge of ICT  pre-requisite to progress on the bench and we are determined to make the phased transition from paper to based system to an automated one,” the CJN added.

Also speaking, the CEO, NCC, Prof Garba Dambatta, said the programme was conceptualised to bridge the knowledge gaps in topical and emerging areas of telecoms with a view to keeping the judiciary abreast of relevant issues in the industry.

“The emergence of over-the-top (OTT) services which is a non-traditional means of communication has left telecoms regulators all over the world grappling with the issues of whether to regulate or not while balancing the expectations of relevant stakeholders in the industry,” Prof Dambatta said.

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