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CJN mulls review of NCC Act 14 years on, says many new things not covered

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has opened up on the need to quickly carry out a review of the 2003 Act establishing the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), saying it has not only become obsolete but emergence of new things and technology has necessitated the review.

According to Onnoghen, several new issues and latest technological challenges had arisen that require to be taken into consideration so that the agency will continue to be in line with current realities.

In his remarks while declaring open the 2017 annual workshop for judges on legal issues in telecommunications organised by the NCC in Abuja recently, Onnoghen averred that “The law should be reviewed to bridge the gap created by technological advancement in the telecommunications sector following the invention of smart phones, tablets and expansion of wireless and broadband internet infrastructures in the country”.

The jurist added that “It is important to mention that with the enactment of NCC Act of 2003, new issues and other technological challenges that have arisen that have not been adequately envisaged, for instance, the arrival of smart phones, tablets, expansion of our wireless and broadband internet infrastructures, have attracted a new breed of smart and intellectual subscribers”.

“This category of subscribers relies on their devices to perform ordinary daily activities which have made consumers privacy protection very paramount. This has given rise to more sophisticated way of committing crimes.

Justice Onnoghen, represented by Justice Olu Ariwo-Ola of the Supreme Court, said it was necessary for judges to be updated with developments in the sector to ensure speedy dispensation of justice and commended the National Judicial Institute (NJI) for partnering with the NCC to organise the annual workshop.

Earlier in his keynote speech, executive vice chairman of the NCC, Professor Garba Danbatta, who hinted that investment in the sector has moved from $500m in year 2000 to about $86bn this year, agreed with CJN and added that “the telecoms sector has become sophisticated with inherent challenges bordering on cyber-security and cyber-crimes which need to be handled through review of the Act”.