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NCC to curb crimes committed with pre-registered SIM cards

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• FG begins awareness on public Internet access policy
• NGO plans to automate Ekiti State with broad-based digital empowerment
• Seeks partnership with state government

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it would seek legislation that could empower it to arrest and prosecute those who sell pre-registered Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) cards and all those involved in the value chain to enhance national security.

Director of Compliance Monitoring & Enforcement (NCC), Efosa Idehen, who stated this during a regional sensitisation workshop in Enugu, said no fewer than 200 mobile operators and registration agents had been arrested and prosecuted.

He said crimes were being committed daily using SIM cards registered by agents, adding that until those involved in the value chain of registration are arrested and jailed, the trend would continue.

“We have jailed over 200 offenders in the last two years while several others were made to pay fine,” he said, stressing that the commission would soon stop registration of individuals with over five SIM cards.

Idehen, who described the release of pre-registered SIM cards to the market place as a “national sabotage” capable of eroding national security, said the commission was working with the National Assembly to criminalise mobile phones SIM card infractions.

He said that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and their agents must adhere to the laws that prohibit the release of fully activated SIM cards into the market, adding that the NCC introduced SIM card registration for national security and not for the MNOs to know their customers.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Communications, Dr. Adebayo Shittu, has reiterated the need to sensitise and create necessary awareness within and outside the public service on the Public Internet Access Policy and its implication for national development.

He stated this during a one-day stakeholders’ workshop on the role of public Internet access for economic development in Abuja yesterday.

The minister said that issues like deployment models, availability, accessibility, Infrastructure sharing, affordability, relevance, online safety, data security, governance, pervasiveness, equal access, standardisation, broadband, infrastructure roll-out and Right of Way are new challenges confronting the nation on daily basis.

In another development, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), under the aegis of the Bridgewaters, yesterday said it had perfected a technological plan to automate Ekiti State with a broad-based digital empowerment.

It said the project would guarantee over 50,000 jobs for youths in Ekiti State and Ekiti indigenes in Lagos.

Chief Executive Officer of Bridgewaters, Mr. Segun Oke, who stated this while speaking with newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, said the plan was borne out of his desire to contribute his quota to the task of eradicating poverty in the state in particular and Nigeria in general.

Oke said that the NGO is seeking the partnership of the state government to make the laudable project a reality, saying that efforts are being made to get the endorsement of the government to kick-start the project.

He said that the NGO would equipped about 10,000 youths in digital skills, artificial intelligence, robotics, programming, motion animation, cyber security and project management.


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