The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently issued a 14-day ultimatum to more than 175 firms carrying out illegal car-tracking business in the country. By law, only the NCC is charged with the responsibility of regulating any such service provision or allied offerings.
It is surprising, to say the least, noting the impunity with which some business promoters breach statutory regulations without any qualms about the implications and consequences when apprehended. This is despite the fact that in this particular circumstance the offenders had been given a soft-landing platform to apply for regularisation and recognition of their trade.
Yet, most of them ignored the opportunity typically like economic saboteurs which they are. According to the commission’s director in charge of legal and regulatory services, Ms Josephine Amuwa, most of the lawbreakers have been advertising provision of vehicular-tracking services that depend either on satellite or terrestrial networks or both without the mandatory requisite permission from the NCC, in contravention of the act that set up the commission.
With the expiration of the ultimatum issued on October 5, only 14 out of the identified car-tracking firms have duly registered with the NCC. The defaulters are still continuing with their untoward and unpatriotic business transaction. We have no doubt that with the aid of modern technology the NCC should be able to track the non-compliant companies and make them to face the wrath of the law and also serve as a deterrent to other economic saboteurs who want to reap where they did not sow.
We suspect that there may be more illegal car-tracking operators than the 175 already fingered. The NCC should carry out comprehensive and painstaking surveillance nationwide as there may indeed be other yet-to-be-identified illegal operators offering this same service. It is also imperative for the NCC to leverage their relationship with the GSM companies in monitoring any deleterious activities of these firms even after being granted requisite permits.
This is critical because of the integrated communication networking involved in the tracking business. If not monitored, it has the capacity that could undermine the country’s security which could even threaten our sovereignty in extreme deployments. In other words, beyond licensing these outfits, their operations must be seriously monitored. As for the firms still flouting the basic operational requirement by the NCC, we cannot fathom the basis of their entrepreneurial obduracy. In other countries, these are fundamental pre-commencement fulfilments before any such initiative takes off in the first place.
It is only in Nigeria, perhaps, that organizations break the law from the outset and later come back to the nitty-gritty by belatedly addressing statutory issues that could not have been swept under the carpet no matter the strategy employed. The NCC should not break its head over those establishments that are bent on flouting basic guidelines for car-tracking business. Such culprits should be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for their overt and covert manipulation of the country’s fiscal and enterprise regime.
We call on all those involved in this thriving illegality to discontinue and follow the due process in their own long-term benefit. It does not make sense to cut your nose to spite your face through avoidable acts of economic brigandage and belligerence. Without condoning sharp practices, the NCC may consider extending the deadline for the rectification of car-tracking procedure by another week to ensure that as many as possible out of the 175 firms come on board instead of wholly blacklisting a majority of them and in the process creating bottlenecks for the public who perforce need their services.
We make this appeal on the grounds that the 14 firms approved so far will not have the capacity to meet increasing patronage, especially now that more and more Nigerians are acquiring all manner of automobiles.