Legislative Oversight by the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications: Stakeholders’ Perspectives

Adekunle, Adeboboye Taofeeq (2022-03)


Numerous laws and regulations have been enacted by the Nigeria legislators for the operations of the telecommunication industries, in spite of these laws and regulations recent periods have beheld several reckless misconducts of telecommunication companies. For instance, there are growing allegations of low quality services, deceptive marketing, questionable products, doubtful promotional practices, sloppy services, hidden charges, and poor telephony services. Based on the foregoing, this dissertation assessed; the awareness of the legislative oversight function on telecommunication firms among the members of the public, the operational effects of the telecommunication firms on Nigerians; and the effectiveness of the 9th House of Representative Committee on Telecommunication. The study adopted mixed methods research design in order to have depth assessment of the 9th House of Representatives Committee oversight functions on Telecommunication firms. The basic principle of this methodology is that it advances a more complete and synergistic utilization of data than do separate quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. The embracement of this research design was influenced by the nature of data collection and analysis i.e. quantitative and qualitative. The Slovin’s (1960) formula was utilized to determine the public-respondents sample size. Also, the study purposively sampled 23-members of the 9th House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunication. Data collected through structured interview questions and questionnaire administration were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23. Furthermore, the study employed narrative and descriptive analysis methods these include frequencies, percentages and charts. The empirical findings from the descriptive analysis of the public-respondents revealed on the first objective that most members of the public are not aware of the existence of the Committee on Telecommunication in the House of Representatives. On the second objective, the study established the prevalence of some telecommunication firms’ misconducts which include deceptive marketing, hidden charges, poor network coverage, poor customer service, doubt about personal information handling, and lack of value for money paid for services/products as the operational effects of the telecommunication firms on Nigerians. On the third objective, the study revealed that Committee on Telecommunications is not effective in discharging their statutory functions as far as addressing the prevalent issues of Telecommunication firms’ misconducts are concerned. The study therefore recommended creating more public awareness (i.e. sensitizing the public) regarding the Committee statutory oversight functions, regionalization of public hearing regarding telecom services, and the Committee should earnestly come up with a standardized oversight manual for the Committee. The Committee needs to construct workable platforms to harness public complaints/opinions on the operational activities of the Telecommunication companies. The study therefore concluded that it can safely be said that the Committee is not effective in discharging their statutory functions as far as issues of Telecommunication firms’ misconducts are concerned. And established lack of funds, lack of platform to harness complaints/opinion, lack of standardized oversight manual, lack of cooperation by the executive arm, unwillingness of telecom subscribers to volunteer information/opinion, and lack of cooperation from the telecom providers as factors hindering the Committee effectiveness.