The National Information Technology Development Authority (NITDA) warns ICT sector interest groups not to set up government agencies to regulate the course of conflict.
Emmanuel Edetto, head of NITDA's legal services and board, warned in a statement released in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to Edet, NITDA and other government agencies in the information technology (IT) sector have a clear mission and permit law to drive their work.
He said warnings were needed as a result of a recent protest by the Nigerian Authorized Carriers Association (ALTON) claiming that "NITDA is taking control of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC)."
ALTON claimed that NITDA had taken away NCC's role in data services through five regulatory measures deployed in January.
The association argued that the framework that strengthens NITDA to license public Internet access (PIA) providers is a seizure of NCC functionality.
The association also argued that NITDA's “Data Center Facility Framework” and “Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR)” represent multiple regulations that pose challenges to the industry.
“The main concern is that NITDA appears to assume the role of a parallel regulator of data services,” ALTON said in a petition to NCC.
But Edet said a single regulator in Nigeria has no integrated mandate on information and communication technology (ICT).
“Various organizations have a different role to play in the development and regulation of ICT in Nigeria, and their duties and laws define them.
Moreover, in Nigeria, no entity is regulated by a single regulatory body.
“Domestic regulators work in a cooperative and complementary capacity to resolve duplication of duties cooperatively,” he said.
According to Edet, NITDA, which was commissioned by the federal government, is responsible for establishing regulatory frameworks and guidelines for the smooth operation of IT.
According to him, NITDA enjoyed a sincere and cooperative relationship with all sector regulators and has been consistently involved in all regulations and guidelines issued by the agency.
He noted that NITDA is actively working with all sector regulators to ensure full compliance with the NDPR and other regulatory frameworks.
Edet stressed that ALTON and other industry groups are expected to comply with a variety of professional, sectoral, geographical and international regulatory authorities when their operations require.
“We recommend that trying to confront government agencies just for short-term gains should not be the strategic interests of interest groups.
“NITDA is clear about the mandates stipulated in the Enforcement Law and will not be overlooked by powerful interest groups to implement mandates that benefit Nigeria as a whole,” Edette said.
Edet warned that violations of NITDA regulatory documents are criminal offenses and will be punished by fines, imprisonment, or both (NAN)