Reps to investigate NCC, telcos on number masking

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on telecommunications to investigate the activities of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and telecommunication companies for revenue loss from due to number masking.

The House gave the committee 6 weeks to conduct the investigation and report back for further legislative action.

The resolution followed a motion moved by the Chairman Committee on Telecommunications, Akin Fijabi (APC, Oyo) during Wednesday plenary.

Fijabi while leading the debate explained that telephone masking via Voice-Over-IP Tecnology makes it possible for fraudsters, criminals and terrorists from anywhere in the world to reach out and talk to anyone on their phones.

He noted that those shady characters can easily hide their identities or pretend to be someone else because many consumer service providers and government agencies use phone calls as a way to confirm identities and other verifications and this poses a major threat to cyber securities.

He explained further that the nature of the system has led to numerous scams against consumers and financial institutions, as well as allowed hackers to sometimes abuse the password recovery features of online services and in the process, wrestle control of a victim’s accounts.

Fijabi also stated that the Voice-Over-IP Technology, international calls made from anywhere in the world are routed and can be shown as local calls, thereby displaying local Global system of mobile Communications (GSM) numbers of telecommunications service providers in Nigeria.

The lawmaker expressed concerns that the termination fees for those international inbounds calls routed as local calls are also tariffed as local calls by telecommunications service providers in Nigeria, thereby decreasing the accruable remitted to the federal government.

He added that the absence of an effective monitoring mechanism to checkmate the trend poses a threat to our national security and hinders remittance of accruable revenues from the telecommunications industries.

The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara while putting the motion to a vote, said that since the motion is an investigative motion, no need to subject it to a debate. When the question was put to vote, the “ayes” had it.

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