Scholarship in law, regulation compass of telecoms sector – Danbatta

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By Ogaga Ariemu

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has described rich law, regulation scholarship as compass of the telecommunications sector. Reinstated support for knowledge-centred industry as he inaugurated book on Nigeria’ telecommunications industry’s legal and regulatory ecosystem.

The book, “Nigerian Telecommunications Law and Regulation”, which is co-authored by Quasim Odunmbaku, a telecoms regulatory professional at the NCC and Rotimi Akapo, a lawyer, who specializes in Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) practice, is written in 610  pages and 18 well articulated chapters.

Speaking at the virtual public presentation of the book on Thursday, Prof. Danbatta, who was the Chairman and Lead Presenter at the event, said that law and regulation are two critical pillars, which influence the speed and impact of innovation in the telecoms sector.

Represented by the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management at NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, the EVC acknowledged that there is a noticeable paucity of well-researched books and reference materials on the legal and regulatory regime governing the telecommunications and indeed the ICT sector in Nigeria.

“As important as these two factors are, they typically lag behind technology – it, therefore, behooves on all legal and regulatory practitioners in the sector to keep abreast of developments so that knowledge gaps do not stifle innovation and/or deny consumers of the optimum value.

“I am, therefore, delighted that the authors of “Nigerian Telecommunications Law and Regulation” have taken up the challenge and have produced a comprehensive reference material which touches on practically every aspect of the subject”, he said.

The official public launching of the book was done by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, who, incidentally was a former ECSM at NCC, and had worked closely with one of the authors.

Dare described the book as “a compendium that will greatly enrich the level knowledge needed to enhance telecoms growth”

He said stated the book is coming at a time when the sector has played an exponential role in taking the country out of recession.

He noted that the book will share a permanent place the industry and territory institutions.

On the part  of the book reviewer, Dr. Mohammed Suleh-Yusuf, he said, “The book is highly useful to practitioners and ordinary readers. It serves as a window into what shapes the industry and ensures readers are familiar at surface, to the basic rules and norms that influence the industry.”

Meanwhile, the President, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria, Ikechukwu Nnamani said the authors have challenged the industry by putting together an encyclopedia behind the growth of the Telecommunications industry from the perspective of legal, regulatory, economic, social and technological impacts.

Other telecoms stakeholders have overwhelmingly endorsed the book, describing it as a good reference material and comprehensive guide, reference material and source-book on the policy, legal and regulatory framework governing the Nigerian telecommunications sector, which, many stakeholders said, will fill a critical contemporary knowledge gap for legal practitioners, investors and the academia.

According to the Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Operations, Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), Akinwale Goodluck, “As an industry practitioner, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and recommend it very strongly for everyone with an interest in the Industry. It also provides invaluable insight for other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to learn from the Nigeria experience.”

In his comment, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, said “the book carefully dissects the policies, rules, regulations and industry best practices which makes the Nigerian telecommunications industry the success story that it is today, despite numerous challenges.”

Other stakeholders, who rated the book to be resourceful both in contents and relevance to industry practitioners include Chairman, Section of Business Law, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ayuli Jemide; Director, Legal & Regulatory Affairs/Company Secretary, Airtel Networks Limited, Shola Adeyemi; Principal Partner and Head, ICT Law & Regulation, Sceptre Law, Lagos, Otu Etuk; Prof. Abiola Sanni of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, among others.