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Why SIM card registration is necessary, by NCC


SIM Cards

Nigeria’s Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration initiative – which required all mobile phone subscribers to register their SIM cards with their respective mobile network operators – was designed to capture the identity of mobile phone subscribers for identity and security management.

This initiative is aimed at enhancing the general security of the country as well as also getting to know our subscribers.

SIM card registration is not anything new in the world of telecommunications. It is done in all parts of the world.

It simply requires subscribers to give their phone number, name, date of birth, gender, address (postal and/or physical address), alternative telephone contacts, and Identification Card number or any other acceptable identification details.

Furthermore, the mobile service providers have the obligation enforced by law of ensuring that the information collected from a subscriber is kept secure and confidential.

When the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) flagged off SIM card registration in March 28, 2011, there were two primary objectives behind the action; one was the need to mitigate security concerns in the challenges of tracking criminal uses of telephones in the country by security agencies.

The other, was to establish a central database of SIM card subscribers as an enabler to the overall national identification system.

Many years after, it appears some elements are bent on frustrating these objectives.

Alarm this, the NCC, recently threatened to charge people involved in SIM card pre-registration with felony which carries 25 years imprisonment.

Mr. Sunday Dare, executive commissioner, Stakeholder Management, said the right things must be done by the registration agents and their MNOs to curb the dangers posed by the menace.

Dare explained that aside several sanctions provided in the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations 2011 for improperly-registered SIM cards per SIM cards, penalty for violation, imposition of N1 million on person found to be dealing with subscriber information in a manner inconsistent with the regulations, arrest and prosecution, among others, which the Commission has been enforcing, the NCC will begin to plead national security and national interests against anybody found culpable of fraudulently-registered SIM cards.

“It is no longer going to be business as usual for all players in the SIM registration value chain. We will no longer allow some deviants to jeopardise our national interest and national security.

“Today, cases of fraudulently-registered SIM cards have been aiding and abetting robbery cases, kidnappings, financial frauds and all manners of criminalities where the anonymity of the registered subscribers makes criminal investigation difficult for the law enforcement agencies.

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