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ECOWAS recommends legislations against roaming charges, cybercrime

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A Joint Committee of the ECOWAS Parliament has issued some recommendations asking Member States to develop legislation to fight cybercrimes in their jurisdictions as well as implement effectively, the elimination of roaming charges in the region.

These were part of recommendations contained in the draft report of the delocalised meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism/Legal Affairs and Human Rights/Telecommunications and Information Technology (TIT), held at Winneba, Ghana from 27 – 31 July, 2021.

According to the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, the draft report may be considered at the plenary of the next session of the ECOWAS Parliament.

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“The experts and resource persons have captured all the concerns and provided measures to ensure that all issues are resolved. They have also identified the relevant intervention and mechanism, hence enabling Parliament to make an efficient contribution in ensuring that recommendations are made to Plenary at the next session”, he said.

He, therefore assured that “ECOWAS Parliament, working with all stakeholders, will endeavour to ensure that the growing threats and risks facing global cyberspace and digital networks, information systems and data in our region, are kept at bay”.

Indeed, the report contained general recommendations, those to be implemented at the level of the ECOWAS Commission, those to be carried out by Member States as well as those to be implemented by the ECOWAS Parliament.

For instance, the recommendation for implementation by Member States include, among others, one to implement effectively, the elimination of roaming charges as in the member countries; to abolish termination charges being levied by some countries in the region; inform, communicate to the public in their territories and cooperate to address cases of inadvertent roaming and ensure that service providers comply with the provisions.

Also included in the recommendation for implementation is the prevention of such risks, where it read that, “there is need to consider greater mastery of the technologies used, by adapting them to national needs and developing local expertise and adequate training of agents”.

Under the general recommendations, the parliament proposed effective implementation of the roaming regulation by all operators and in all Member States. It added that Member States need to step up the inter-sectoral efforts required for the removal of SIIT in compliance with the Regulation; Communication to citizens, civil society and parliaments need to be stepped up to increase awareness of the benefits of the implementation of the regulation and the rights of consumers to this benefit.

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