NCC Blocks APC and Buhari’s Fundraising Platforms (SMS Short codes and Scratch Cards)

A couple of initiatives put up by the Buhari Campaign Organisation and his party the All Progressive Congress (APC) in order to raise funds for his electioneering campaign has been blocked by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

Some hours after the APC announced its online and mobile based fundraising platforms the NCC made moves to scupper it. One of the initiatives by the APC was to launch an sms based fundraising system which enables mobile phone users to donate N100 to the Buhari campaign by texting to a particular short code; 35350. The 35350 sms platform was shut down as the NCC directed Telcos not to run or promote any partisan campaign.

We learnt that before this was shut down the Buhari campaign organisation had already received donations from 5,400 people which amounted to N540,000 (would be much less when you deduct the customary high percentages taken by the Telecom companies).

Another initiative banned was the scratch card platform where people could buy a Buhari scratch card in order to donate.

According to Fashola, the NCC shut down the platform on Wednesday afternoon after it wrote to the telecom operators not to carry such messages.

“The NCC has shut down the 35350 platform for sending N100 message to the Buhari fund raising campaign yesterday afternoon. Before it was shut down, 5400 people had contributed N100 to the Buhari campaign fund using the platform,” he said.

Fashola added that since Wednesday, he had been receiving messages from people wanting to contribute that they could not get through to the line because NCC had shut it down.

He said in 2010, the same platform was granted by the NCC to raise fund for the Jonathan-Sambo campaign, while appealing to the president to direct NCC to restore the platform as the people’s freedom was being gagged.

The governor restated that it entered into business relationship with the telecom operators and was never a political issue to make them partisan.

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Don Pagli

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