Still on unsolicited callertunes and text messages charges

Last week I wrote about Nigeria telephone companies (most of them) imposing unsolicited callertunes charges on people, here and sometimes last year on the same issue here.

It is an issue that bugs Nigerians. But why do we let this go on? Why aren’t government officials doing their job?

Another twist that I just learned the other day was that of unsolicited messages –  inspirational texts advising on weight loss programs, business seminars, youths conference etc – why are telephone companies allowed to get away with flooding citizens phones with these?

For some reason, I didn’t know that these annoying messages incur charges even when consumers did not ask for it?

It is interesting that when MTN was fined for invading tax in Nigeria, many people have words to say to MTN (rightly) but why are citizens wasting their energies defending the government that cares not for them? Even if the fine were paid, how do we know it’s not going to grow legs and waka comot?

Given most of our public officials loved to boast of their international knowledge, why has Mr Adebayo Shittu not stopped this happening? Or maybe he gets a cut for looking the other way?

The day after I wrote the last piece on annoying callertunes charges, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) was said to release the following message or at least someone said they did:

“NCC gives Nigerians a number to call. Dial 622 to report any telecommunication company that deducts your money illegally through dial tunes, SMS etc or arbitrarily without your consent. Place the call whenever you need to, it’s toll free. Help circulate this information. This stealing just has to stop!”

If this is truly from NCC, it shows that he is listening to begin with – but I very much doubt this.

Then the same guy who posted the above message on his FB has this to say:

“Finally, MTN listened after so much had been FINED on them by NCC.
To opt out of all MTN useless adverts, dial *123*5*4# and follow the instructions.
No more 32043, 33070, 5010, 4100, etc. Especially Isa49v…….. Only Bank Credit Alerts.
Save a life today by sharing. It is real because i just opted out of MTN mobile advertising bullshit!”

Nigeria is a funny country, the above instructions reminded me of Harriet Tubman’s quote :

“I freed thousands of slaves, and could have freed thousands more, if they had known they were slaves.” Harriet Tubman

Why on earth do people have to be the one calling MTN or any other telephone company for that matter to remove anything? Why can it not be the case that people make this choice themselves?

My father about two months ago informed me that he has changed his phone network provider, his explanation was that ‘won ti n ja owo mi ju lai nidi’ (They took my money for no reason (most Nigerians are on pay as you go, making it far easy to extort money from them)).

He is the kind of person that likes to know how much each phone call costs. Now I understand better what he was trying to explain then. This morning when I ask  if he still receives unsolicited text messages. His words were “beeni o, message ti ko n’idi, ti ko ni lair” (useless messages).

My father just changed from MTN to Glo, from fry pan to fire – literally, when it comes to Nigeria telecoms extortion.

It will take a few months to make him trust Etisalat enough to change to them.

The thing is, it bothers my father much more than my mother. Moomi can’t read so just ignore completely – but is it fair to extort money from an 80 year old lady?

My parents are lucky at least they have my sisters and I. What about millions of other people who live from hand to mouth?

If NCC own data was to be believed, as of July 2015 we have estimate of 141M connections in Nigeria. Also note to say that an average Nigeria has at least two lines from two different companies.

What else is Mr Adebayo Shittu’s job if he fails to make sure telephone companies adhere to simple ethical practices?