(Okechukwu Charles, Umuahia)
Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson has written a letter to one of the prominent bodies in the United Nations (UN), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), asking it to remove Dr Bashir Gwandu, the former executive Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), from his job.
Dr. Gwandu was sacked on December last year by President Goodluck Jonathan in relation to controversial secret spectrum allocations to some companies at meagre amounts. Dr. Gwandu’s major sins which earned him the untimely exit from the commission was because he exposed major corruption in Federal governments’ selling of 450 MHz Spectrum to an unlicensed company- OpenSky – reportedly owned by Mr. Emeka Offor and Associates wherein they paid $6 million for a license that should have fetched the nation over $50 million.
Secondly, the waiver granted to MTS – a company that was linked to NCC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Eugene Juwah, at the expense of other companies operating in the industry.
The third issues was the selling of 800 MHz spectrum to a company called Smile Nigeria Communications Limited at about 13 million euros when equivalent spectrum was sold in Germany, Italy and France for 1.153 billion euros, 992 million euros and 891 million euros respectively.
Only recently in UK a minimum price was set before going to auction for about £450 million.
In an action that is tantamount to undermining the interest of the country in relation to the operations of the UN body, the minister added that there was the need for the ITU to update its records by removing Gwandu as not only the chairman or vice-chair of the two organs but also as a representative or delegate of Nigeria.
The minister stated this in a letter ref: MC/ST.01631T4, dated April 12, 2013 and addressed to the Secretary General of the ITU.
But Gwandu has filed a legal action against his removal before the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja, challenging the propriety of his removal.
It is noteworthy that it was during the pendency of the suit that the minister wrote the said letter under reference to the ITU.
With the letter, the minister has blocked the participation of Gwandu in the work of the ITU and from operating as the elected chairman of the technical body, the RAG, and from operating as vice-chairman and potential chairman of another technical body of the ITU – the Joint Task Group, JTG-4-5-6-7.