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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Consequences of unregistered SIM cards await operators says NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has insisted that there are consequences for any telecommunications operator in the country harbouring unregistered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards, reports ITRealms.

NCC revealed this via its Director Public Affairs (DPA), Mr. Tony Ojobo, who spoke at the Special Independence Edition of the annual Conference of Directors and Heads of Public Relations organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) at the Sheraton Hotel Lagos with the theme: Trackable Identity and Integrity in Business and National Reputation.

Dwelling on ‘Trackable Identity and the ease of doing business in Nigeria’ Mr. Ojobo noted the long-standing position of the Commission on tolerance of unregistered SIM cards by telecom service providers on their networks.

Ojobo also warned those buying  pre-registered SIM cards from persons and businesses that had done multiple SIM Cards registration in order to resell later, stressing that the burden of this practice lies with the Mobile Network Operators (MNO) who are expected to deactivate SIM cards that do not carry verifiable identities, “because operators are under obligations to have the identities of all callers on their respective networks.”

For Ojobo, trackable identity is the ability to identify an individual operating or transacting business in the cyberspace, noting that within Nigerian environment, “some identity objects are bereft of digital object identifiers, thus posing serious challenge to identifying someone transacting business in the cyberspace.”

He explained that the SIM cards registration policy was instituted by the Federal Government as a strategic response to the challenges of identity tracking, especially in the context of kidnappings, terrorism and other forms of criminality in the society globally.

Other measures of identity tracking in Nigeria, he said, include the establishment of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) through the NIMC Act 2007 and other extant policies and programmes such as the issuance of International travel passports, Bank Verification Number (BVN), Driver's license, Voter's card, the activities of the National Population Commission and the SIM Cards registration programme supervised by the NCC.

Every SIM card, he said, is a subscription on a network and NCC has over 130 million records being verified, and all of that will be transferred later to NIMC as the nation's main custodian of identity management in Nigeria.


“We all need to be able to identify those we are dealing with especially in the cyberspace to reduce mistrust and fraud as well as to improve the integrity of transactions. The total experience of these practices will also help in the fight against economic and financial crimes,” he declared, maintaining that increase in the level of ICT interface and reduction in the instances of human, physical interface could reduce financial corruption.

Chuks Egbune/GEE
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