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Telecoms, identity agencies partner to harmonise data

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[FILE PHOTO] Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta. Photo/NgComCommission

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it was working with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to hamonise data nationwide.

The telecoms regulator also dismissed insinuations that 95.7 million Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) data had been invalidated.

It stressed that it was a continuous exercise because new SIMs “are added daily to the networks. So, the new ones must be registered accordingly.”

The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management of the commission, Sunday Dare, disclosed that what currently obtained were clean-up, verification and harmonisation of the data so far captured by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) as well as those captured by other statutory agencies in accordance with the Act setting up the NIMC and a directive of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

He said: “The position of the NCC has been consistent in the sense that it is the normal practice globally. The subscriber data that had been captured have been undergoing the normal process of verification. Whatever name you call it, it is simply a process of verification. The operators, at the point of registration, are expected to capture specific data – biometrics (picture and fingerprint); names, addresses, etc. Once they capture them, they put them together, and from time to time, they send them to NCC through secured electronic means.”

Dare clarified that as his organisation links the data to the central system, it then checks and verifies what had been submitted by operators.

He addedd: “We issued subscriber registration regulations in 2011 together with registration specifications and these have remained substantially the same since then. What we now have is an additional layer of verification via a presidential directive and an enabling law that all data-collecting agencies of government should harmonise their outcome with the NIMC – because statutorily, it is only the NIMC that has the powers to create a national citizens’ database.

“So, NCC falls within the category of data-collecting agencies. So, as we collect SIM registration data, FRSC collects (for drivers’ licences), immigration (for international passports) etc. – they all submit everything to NIMC.”

The NCC official further said: what does NIMC do? They also collect and verify. So, it is a continuous process. Of course – even though technology is being used – there is no way you can verify and complete the processing of 160 million subscribers within a short period. And don’t forget that we had 80 million, then 90 million, then 100 million subscribers and so on… So as their data come in, we verify. That process is painstaking, it is based on technology and it is ongoing. So the question of invalid data does not exist.”


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