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Telecoms operators rectify 6.7m of 9.2m irregular mobile lines

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Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ubale Maska (left); Commissioner, Salman Abdulazeez Mohammed; Chairman, Olabiyi Durojaiye; Minister of Communications, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami; Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta; and Commissioners, Millionaire Freeborn Aboiwe; Aliu Saidu Abubakar, and Clement Baiye, during the inauguration of the NCC’s board in Abuja…yesterday.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed that 6.75 million of the 9.2 million SIM cards with improper registration have been rectified with some 2.42 million others yet to be addressed by telecommunication operators.

The Minister of Communications, Isa Ali Pantami, had given operators till September 25 this year to regularise all improperly registered mobile lines in the country.

Speaking yesterday at the inauguration of the new board members of the NCC in Abuja, the minister warned that at the deadline, there should be no single irregular telephone line, adding that the rest must be regularised on or before the expiration of the ultimatum.

Pantami noted that inquiries revealed that 99 per cent of criminal acts committed nationwide were being carried out via SIM cards.

“Before you think of any economic benefit, the constitutional responsibility of the executive is the protection of lives and property of Nigerians. So, the life of one Nigerian is more important than any economic benefit the government can get. When I heard that we have 9.2 million Nigerians with incomplete or improperly registered SIM cards, I found the statistics alarming and worrisome because investigations revealed that 99 per cent of crimes being committed in Nigeria was done through SIM cards.

“The NCC told me today (yesterday) that they have rectified 73.61 per cent. So, the incomplete registered SIM cards have been reduced from 9.2 to 2.42 millionhe said.

The minister commended the regulator for the feat, urging it to maintain the tempo.

He observed that close to 40 million Nigerians have no access to telecommunications services, stressing the need to “see how we can bridge this gap and ensure that this population has access to telecoms services.”

Pantami said the contribution of the non-oil sector to the nation’s GDP in the last quarter was 91.8 per cent, noting that the oil sector contributed 8.80 per cent while the ICT aided with 13.86 per cent.

He warned the board members not to interfere in the day to day running of the commission, urging them to help President Muhammadu Buhari in actualising his campaign promises.

Chairman of the board, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, pledged support for the NCC in ensuring that telecommunications infrastructure was replicated in all of Nigeria’s 774 council areas.


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