The Nigerian Senate has urged the members of the public to contribute to the ongoing house inquiry and deliberation on the sale of the Nigerian Police’s 450 MHz frequency band by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Speaking to journalists, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications, hinted that the committee which will preside over the public hearing will commence sitting this week and has therefore asked interested members of the public to actively participate since all the parties involved in the sale will be part of the deliberations.
He said his committee has already summoned the outfit that bought the frequency, which includes the executive vice-chairman of NCC, the Inspector-General of Police and the Managing Director of OpenSky Limited, to appear before it.
While commenting on why the NCC went ahead to sell the contentious frequency, the regulatory body’s director of public affairs Tony Ojobo admitted that the commission sold the frequency to OpenSky Limited but affirmed it strictly followed due process in the sale.
“Just like the commission has been doing since inception,” he said. “The sale was carried out in accordance with the Nigerian Communications Act, and in full implementation of a presidential directive of July 5, 2007.
“The directive was fully deliberated upon by the board of the commission during its 62nd, 63rd and 64th sittings and other subsequent meetings,” Ojobo said.
According to him, The Office of the President issued a directive asking the NCC to issue part of the 450MHz frequency to NigComSat, a government outfit in charge of operations of the nation’s satellites. On consideration, however, the board of the NCC suggested a pre-condition in which NigComSat would seek private partnership before it could qualify to get the frequency allocation.
“Upon confirmation of partnership with Openskys by NigComSat, NCC’s management began the process of the assignment from 2008. On October 2, 2009, the commission made a provisional offer of frequency to OpenSky. As at this period, the Nigerian Police was still occupying some of the frequencies in the 450MHz Band,” Ojobo said.
He explained further that on October 5, 2005, the communications ministry communicated the decision of the National Frequency Management Board Council (NFMBC) on the frequency to the police before the board gave the approval for the commercialization of the police frequency on November 5, 2004.
Following the approval, occupants of the band including the police, NITEL, Shell and Chevron, were relocated to specific portions of the band that best suit their types of service and usage, he said.