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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Juwah stresses security need for SIM registration

The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah, has stressed the security importance of the ongoing SIM Card registration across the country.

He also reaffirmed determination of the Commission to conclude the exercise within six months to assist security agencies to curb mobile phone related crimes.

While receiving the leadership of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Maitama Branch, Abuja in his office, led by its Chairman, Engr. Paulinus Ogu, Dr. Juwah proclaimed that the Commission now has over 2,000 SIM Registration centres across the country, in addition to those of the telecom operators.

The Commission, he said, is currently doing registration alongside telecom operators, noting that those who are already registered with the telecom operators need not register with the NCC registration centres, even as SIM registration in the country will end on September 28, 2011.

“The story is that the government is intent on knowing who owns mobile phones and they have mandated us to lead this operation together with the operators so there is no duplication,” indicating that perhaps why it is easier to register with the NCC centres is because of the fact that you can register all your phones in one location as the Commission registers across all networks,” he said.

Juwah pointed out in a press statement made available to Daily Champion by the Head, Media and Public Relations at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, that by the initial arrangements, the operators were to register only the new subscribers from May 1, 2010 while the Commission was to register only existing subscribers, stressing that with the urge by the operators, who already have the equipment, to know their subscribers, to utilize this equipment; they began to register both new and old subscribers.

He said that when NCC got ready to start registration, the Commission and the operators met with the National Security Adviser, and it was discovered that the operators had only registered eight million out of 89 Million SIM Cards leaving a balance of 80 million.

He said it was at this stage that it was decided that the operators and the operators should begin to register existing SIM cards that are yet to be registered.

“There were about 80million SIM cards that were not registered and the government has given us six months to jointly conclude the registration of these numbers as this will enable us conclude the registration within this time frame”, he said.

“We (NCC) do not register new subscribers but if you have registered before with your operator, you don’t have to register again. It is the same data base so we are trying to cover the balance that the operators haven’t registered and we are doing this together with the operators”, he said.

The NCC boss said the Commission has mobilized and are in the six geographical zones of Nigerian including Abuja and Lagos. “We have mobilized and established more than 2000 NCC registration centres across Nigeria while the operators are carrying out their own. So that is the real story and it was a very controversial issue at the National Assembly but anybody who knows the real story knows that this is an important national security issue and the government recognizes it as such”, he said.

On a general note, Dr. Juwah invited Nigerian engineers to assist in resolving the power supply need of the telecommunications industry. “Power is really an issue now, and we are always ready to discuss and partner in such issues which can lead to decreasing the cost of power as operators use independently produced power today”.

“We are always ready to discuss alternate power sources and wherever they are practical we are prepared to partner in ventures of that sort. I am sure we have always collaborated with Nigerian Society of Engineers, and will continue to partner in this direction”, he said.

He informed his guests that the Commission is not basically and engineering firm but has a sizeable engineering department with a lot of engineering work to do in terms of standards, monitoring, quality of service, integrity of networks, frequency management and other activities as dictated by the existing laws and regulations.

Engr. Ogu commended the Commission on the ways it has been handling its duties to the nation, especially the ongoing SIM registration which will enhance the security and lives of the citizens.

He pledged the support of the Society in all the aspirations of the Commission and invited the Commission to continue to monitor and assist the progress of the engineers under its employ to enable them to improve with modern techniques of the profession.

Remmy Nweke:
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