Nigeria: Subscribers' N606.4 Billion Compensation Demand Uninformed, Says ALTON


Lagos — Mr Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) on Tuesday said that the N606.4 billion compensation demanded by subscribers was uninformed.

Adebayo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, that the compensation was a misplaced request, adding that it was unfortunate that subscribers had to go to court over it.

The subscribers, under the auspices of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) had in July 2013 demanded for compensation for poor services being offered by the operators.

NATCOMS had given the operators a Sept. 12, 2013 deadline, to compensate their customers with N5,000 each and at the expiration of the deadline, the subscribers took the operators to court.

From the 'Subscribers Data' released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), active susbcribers on the telecoms operators' networks as at September 2013 stood at 121,271,218, multiplied by N5,000, would amount to N606.4 billion.

The ALTON chairman said that the letter sent to the association by NATCOMS was badly intended and was just to arouse public sentiments.

"It appears to us that the association that sent the letter is not aware of the fundamentals of the industry they came to represent.

"If they are aware, I would not expect them to keep issues in the background and then come on behalf of their members to claim compensation.

"We are waiting, if it means going to court and I don't think it is reasonable to go that way," he said.

According to him, the fundamentals which NATCOMS has been advocating for and against are still there, hence there is no basis for demanding compensation.

He said that NATCOMS and ALTON represented an industry, hence, it was unfortunate to have dragged the issue of quality of service this way.

"My hope is that it will not make the industry become a house divided against itself or make the industry engage in a naked dance in the marketplace," the Information Technology (IT) expert said.

He added that sanction, penalty or compensation would not eliminate the problems of quality of service; therefore, there was the need to address the issues.

NATCOMS, had on Oct. 10, filed a suit against the NCC, ALTON, MTN, Airtel, Globacom and Etisalat for poor quality services being rendered to subscribers.

"It is a case we will pursue to its logical conclusion. If possible, we will go to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

"It is something we have to put right now. They must understand that subscribers must be given some form of palliatives when there is poor service. That is what we want to establish," NATCOMS President, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, had said. (NAN)