Telecommunications companies in the country have sued the national assembly (NASS) over incessant and overlapping oversight functions being carried out by various committees of the two legislative chambers.
The suit which was filed at the Federal High Court Abuja, is seeking the court’s interpretation of the provisions of the constitution on the extent of the national assembly’s oversight functions on private companies, particularly telecom companies which are already subject to regulatory oversight by regulators.
It is also asking the court to determine the specific nature of information which the NASS can lawfully request from private companies including telecommunications companies, and whether it includes companies’ confidential information and information within the purview of government agencies.
Also, it urged the court to determine specific nature of directives that can be made by NASS pursuant to the outcome of their investigative activities as well as declaration on the proprietary of the NASS to issue these summons and insist that telecom companies are represented by their CEOs and not senior management representatives whose job function deal with the subject matter of investigation.
The suit filed by the on behalf of the telecom firms by its trade body, the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ALTON) is also seeking an order restraining the NASS from serving any further summons on telecommunication companies pending the determination of the action.
Briefing the media at the weekend on the matter, national chairman of ALTON, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo said “ALTON members have been inundated with incessant summons from different committees of the NASS served on their chief executive officers to appear before several National Assembly committees, which negatively impact on ability to focus on their business operations.
“The NASS’ insistence on attendance of CEOs at such session is without consideration of these CEOs reasonable schedule conflict or the fact that other senior management staff may be better versed and suited due to the nature of their job roles vis-a-vis the subject matter of investigation,” he said.