Leadership (Abuja)

30 November 2012

Nigeria: Due Process Bypassed in Sack of NCC Commissioner

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Axed Nigerian Communications Commissioner Bashir Gwandu

As the purported removal of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) Executive Commissioner (Technical Standards), Dr. Bashir Gwandu, continues to attract comments from the industry players, LEADERSHIP can report that his removal did not follow the laid down rules contained in the NCC Act 2003, confirming fears that Gwandu was removed for exposing the fraud in the nation's communications regulatory agency,NCC.

According to the NCC Act of 2003, section 1 sub-section 10 states that" (2) Prior to the suspension or removal of a Commissioner under subsection (1) of this section, the President shall inform the Commissioner by written notice, as soon as practicable, of his intention to suspend or remove the Commissioner from office and the reasons therefor.

(3) The affected Commissioner under subsection (1) of this section shall be given a reasonable opportunity to make written submissions to the President within a time period specified in the notice and such time period shall not be less than 14 days from the date of the notice.

(4) The affected Commissioner may, within the time period specified in the notice, submit a written submission and the President shall consider the submission in making his final decision on the Commissioner's suspension or removal from office."

LEADERSHIP investigation revealed that none of the above procedures was followed in the removal of the NCC Commissioner.

All Gwandu got our source said, was the letter from the SGF after facing a disciplinary committee headed by the Minister of Communications Technology, Omobolaji Johnson, who was privy to the alleged spectrum licence fraud committed by the Eugene Juwah-led NCC involving Open Skys Communications and Smiles.

If the Johnson-led committee is what the NCC misconstrues as the presidential panel as provided for by the NCC Act, then the minister served as judge in a matter in which she is a party, and the court may not be far from Bashir Gwandu, at least to hear if the minister was fit to head a panel on a case involving her.

However, in a the letter said to have been signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Pius Anyim, issued by the presidency on his removal, Gwandu was said to have been insubordinate to the NCC board and the federal government. But Engr. Gwandu only exposed spectrum fraud at the NCC, which involved the former and the current executive vice chairmen of the NCC, in a bid to protect the nation from losing billions of naira.

Gwandu was accused of misleading the public by raising a false allegation and that it amounted to gross insubordination on his part to have been instigating the public against the leadership of the NCC because to them at NCC, there was no fraud in the commission over the sale of spectrum.

However, the Senate Commitee Chairman on Communications, Gilbert Nnaji, said while the removal of the NCC Commissioner is the function of the Executive arm of Government, his Committee was ready to look into any complaints over the process of Gwandu's removal if such complaint is formally presented to the committee.

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