Nigerians have reacted in bitterness, regarding the news that subscribers of the Global System of Mobile telecommunications across the country would pay more for data with effect from December 1, 2016.
Investigations reveal that the Federal Government took the decision having discovered that data rates are very low-priced in Nigeria, compared to other countries, including nearby African countries.
In text messages sent out to its subscribers, MTN, Africa’s mobile telecommunications giant, confirmed that it had agreed to implement the directive of the NCC.
The MTN text reads: “Dear customer, please be informed that from 1st of December, some MTN data tariffs will be increased to reflect the new rates set by the NCC for operators. Thank you.”
There have been warnings regarding this move by the NCC, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) warned against the proposed price hike.
The labour group said it would not take such move lightly in the face of the serious economic crisis the country is faced with.
In a similar vein, the Nigerian Senate has waded into the issue, the Senate President Bukola Saraki confirmed on Tuesday, November 29, that the upper house of legislature will step into the matter.
Saraki made the confirmation on his verified Twitter in reply to a plea by a follower that the House look into the matter.
More reactions have trailed the data hike news, many of which are from the bitter masses and some in opposition of the APC-government.
Reno Omokri, former aide Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, said: "Does anyone remember when GSM/Internet rate plans collapsed from ₦3k to ₦1k under 'clueless' Goodluck Jonathan? I need a witness. Please share and comment if you do remember. May God bless GEJ forever!"
Below are the thoughts of Nigerians on the issue, views aired via social media.
Onyebuchi Onyebuchi said: "That policy brought thousands of jobs that will be loss in the coming days, another job lost looming (@least 100,000) #BuhariIsNotMyPresident"
Nwasor Obadiah Amen was of the opinion that online businesses will be affected, he said: "Buhari is a curse".
Harrison Akadidi said: "#BuhariIsNotMyPresident" while MI Zorto said: "Change they voted for has landed heavily on all of us".
Tabitha Treasure Ojiako said: "I wonder why God allows horrible things happen to innocent people,buhari still sleeps under AC bought and maintained by the people's money ,why not tax the national assembly,why not tax the government officials who don't perform duties."
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Ejiofor Umeano said: "We have serious problem in this country, Nigeria losses over one trillion Naira Every month to DATA, PHONE, and CABLE TV.
In other countries in Europe a one time payment of about N6000 per family per month pays for unlimited data for all the above listed.
Instead of laying fiber cable to connect Nigeria to Internet hub they preferred to drain Nigeria by Data and allso deprive Nigeria from joining the next money spinning age which is knowledge based in other civilized countries SANE people do not browse with mobile data. In Nigeria it is the only option."
A social commentator simply known as Alao said: "An administration in disarray looking to close access to social media by increasing price. Back door censorship."
Dimka Obele Eze ll said: "Charly Boy was on the streets last week to wake you guys up! Take your destiny in your hands. Don't wait for these old men to provide for you. They think of how to raise more money to feed their large families! They do not think of your future."
"Is it not time for Nigerians to wake up and realise that their oppressors is the government itself. The very same people that their taxes are being paid to sustain, the public servants, the police, military, SSS, civil servants, corrupt judges, elected representatives, political appointees.
They are in it for themselves, trying to extract as much from the citizenry to continue to feed fat off the corruption and profligacy in public institutions. Now they want to mortgage our future with $30bn loan.
If we don't rise up and take our destinies in our hands, and continue to allow these charlatans to lord it over us, we'll only have ourselves to blame".
Emeka said: "Whoever that is heading that organization (NCC) isn't worthy to be there, even for an hour, because he or she ought to be sacked, if what we read or hear is indeed true. I just hope it isn't true."
Epsilon Delta Frank said: "It's a sad day for all Nigerians. Data is the cheapest way to empower the masses, they would have cut it off if they could. We are gradually becoming North-Korea in Africa.We are doomed! Where the youths?"
George Okenyehike said: "Just a quick and easy way to deny Nigerians access to the Internet. The government agency proposing this is as clueless and insensitive as a typical Nigerian government can be."
Tijani Olawale Kazeem Tok said: "In reality, the people being the government is naturally versus the capitalists but where government is now the one advising a capitalist to increase its commodity prices, then something is wrong. One is tempted to ask, what happens to the issue of free market in the telecoms sector?"
"The telecoms sector was used as a case study to justify the removal of fuel subsidy. Is the telecoms sector truly deregulated?"
"Now I know we are in the wrong hands. While government should increase awareness for greater citizens' participation especially in ICT, they are actually doing the opposite through this kind of policies.
How can one reconcile the Federal government policy direction at this time; on one hand, Osinbajo is banking on ICT for youth empowerment while on the other, the NCC is trying to cut youth participation.
Bottom line is, cheap internet data is a catalyst of some sort to economic development and when government believe it can raise revenue from people whose purchasing power is already in the negative, the result can only be more hardship for common Nigerians. APC, think out of the box to generate more revenues from other means other from poor Nigerians." Tijani Olawale Kazeem Tok stressed.
A user named Watch man said: "Here is another display of unintelligence. This is not the best way to make money. PMB this is not acceptable. Yesterday Fowler of FIRS was quoted as proposing to have tax payment as a condition for obtaining passport. People are already robbed blind by the govt. what then will be the benefit to the self employed who depend on data for their businesses? Very unfortunate!
Very unreasonable and inhuman decision. At this period of recession, any call for increase in anything for now is most unreasonable and uncalled for. It is surprising that these service providers are taking this decision in Nigeria at a time Three G is rolling out plans for people to enjoy what their income and needs could sustain. Awon ole."
Ademola Babjide Adesesan said: "If data rates is too low compared to other countries what's there business with that these animals that called thereselves our leaders are just being selfish and looking for another way to make things difficult for average Nigerians".
Believe Stanley said: "Dear internet users in Nigeria, this is an indirect act to shut the voice of the youths and deprive them of their right and freedom to use the internet as a tool to express their concerns and demand accountability from our Leaders and government.
Let's drive this together. Lend Your Voice and tell the Nigerian Communications Commission, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Nigeria and Nigerian Senate and #SayNoToHighDataTariff
Use the Hashtag on all your social media handles #SayNoToHighDataTariff".