19 February 2018
On Thursday, February 8, 2018 the Nigerian Communications Commission (“the Commission”) issued a public notice, in response to requests from several concerned licensees, extending the deadline for filing of Compliance Reports as prescribed by Principle 14.0 of the Code of Corporate Governance in the Telecommunications Industry 2016 (the “Code”). By this extension, licensees operating in Nigeria have until February 28, 2018 to comply with the mandatory requirement of Principle 14.0 and file their Compliance Reports. The public notice indicated that the Commission is ready to reward licensees as a way of promoting compliance with the Code, and the Commission is poised to sanction erring licensees who fail to comply.
The fact that the NCC is bending over backward to grant a one month extension suggests two things. First, that the level of compliance by licensees is probably not high and the Commission wants to give the licensees ample time and opportunity to comply. Second, after the expiration of the deadline, the NCC will strictly enforce compliance and impose heavy penalties on non-compliant licensees. Those familiar with the methods of the NCC will testify that the Commission does not impose light penalties and that the fear of the NCC is surely the beginning of wisdom.