Officials of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday shut the premises of an internet service provider in Abeokuta for allegedly operating illegally.
The officials, led by Mr Chukwuemeka Obi, the Principal Manager, Compliance and Enforcement unit, disrupted activities at the cafe located inside Government Reservation Area, Ibara, Abeokuta.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the workers were forced to leave their offices by armed policemen after which the place was put under lock and key.
Speaking to newsmen, Obi said the commission acted in compliance with Section 31 of the NCC Act.
He explained that the Act prohibited any company from operating any telecommunications service in Nigeria without the required authorisation.
Obi said that the internet provider, with company name “Arcelor”, had been operating illegally.
“As far back as 2016, we discovered they were providing services to commercial outfits in Abeokuta, after which we wrote them to tell them they’re operating illegally.
“We asked them to come, since then till now, they’ve not come to do what they’re supposed to do. That was what necessitated this enforcement action today.
“This is like a lesson to other operators out there. We know there are so many of them operating illegally.
‘‘You cannot operate telecommunications services illegally in any part of Nigeria if you are not authorised by the NCC,” he said.
Obi said that the commission would continuously monitor all telecommunication service providers on a daily basis.
“It’s a continuous process. Anywhere we find anyone operating illegally, we’ll follow the law. NCC is good at following the law, it took us two years to do this,” he said.
The NCC principal manager, however, warned that if their seal was broken, the company would be severely punished and prosecuted.
“When we seal, the law gives us a chance to prosecute them, but what we’ve done is to give them a chance to come and regularise.
“They can start regularising their licence immediately. Normally, we give them 14 days to do what they’re supposed to do.
‘‘If they’ve done what they’re supposed to do, definitely, we’ll unseal them, but that has to be done on the stability of their request.
‘‘And if they don’t come forward within the two weeks, their office remains shut,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the service provider, Arcelor, is providing internet service to more than 300 clients.