NCC suspends SIM card registration by network operators
To review existing data again
Acting on the directive of the Federal Government, which called for an audit of the Subscriber Registration Database in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yesterday, directed all mobile network operators (MNOs) to immediately suspend registration and activation of new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards.
The Guardian confirms that as of October, about 285 million SIM cards had been connected in Nigeria whereas 207 million were active.
NCC in a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, informed that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has directed the Commission to embark on another audit of the entire exercise.
The Commission informed that the objective of the audit exercise is to verify and ensure compliance by MNOs with the set quality standards and requirements of SIM card registration as issued by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy as well as NCC.
Accordingly, “MNOs are hereby directed to immediately suspend the sale, registration and activation of new SIM Cards until the audit exercise is concluded, and Government has conveyed the new direction.”
The regulator, however, said that where it is absolutely necessary, an exemption may be granted in writing by the Commission following approval from the Federal Government.
It noted that violation of the directive would be met with strict sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.
It noted that as directed in January, all citizens are urged to immediately secure digital identification from the National Identity Management Commission and submit it to the network operators.
In a related development, Nigeria joined the rest of the African Continent, yesterday to mark the 2020 African Telecommunications Day amidst the novel Covid-19 pandemic.
The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, in a statement, said it is committed to promoting the use of digital technologies to drive the economy.
According to the Ministry, this is evident in some far-reaching policies, which includes amongst others, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025), National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Telecom Sector, National Digital Innovation, Entrepreneurship Policy, Policy on Virtual Engagement in the Public Service. A related project is the facilitation of virtual Federal Executive Council meetings.
The Ministry stressed that its policies are consistent with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) statutory objective of promoting programmes for the development of the African information society and the pillar on the promotion of quality broadband infrastructure and affordable ICT services under the current 2019-2022 ATU Strategic Plan
The ministry said the theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Post COVID 19: Role of Telecoms/ICT in the Resumption of Socio-Economic Activities’ was observed on December 7, 2020, has reinforced the effort of the Ministry to collaborate with relevant public and private stakeholders on the acquisition of requisite sectoral skills and competencies to leverage telecommunications/ICT to solve a myriad of problems in our societies.
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