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NCC Reads Riot Act On Improper SIM Card Registration

Worried by the hydra-headed dangers of incidences of improperly registered, unregistered and pre-registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Cards, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said this menace will no longer be tolerated.

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta declared last week after a high-powered meeting with all the telecommunications companies (telcos) operating in Nigeria at the NCC Headquarters, Abuja.

The meeting was the highpoint of several meetings initiated by the Commission in the last two years with a view to finding solutions to the recurrent dangers of the improperly registered SIM cards in the country.

Danbatta expressed the fears by everybody, especially in reference to security reports from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the fear of non compliance to the Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulation 2011, by the telcos and said this can no longer be business as usual.

“We must safeguard lives and properties of Nigerians who travel by road especially now and the festive season, and others who may be threatened or blackmailed via unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards,” he stated.

Danbatta listed several security challenges that have bedeviled the country as a result of the menace of these improperly registered SIM cards.  He lamented that even where SIM cards were registered, the captured data represented strange figures different from the user of such SIM card.

He said the dangers were real and everybody will lose at the end, hence the need to address this now before the situation gets out of hand.

While appreciating the cooperation of the telcos so far in the race to solve this problem, Danbatta said much was left to be done “hence this meeting”, for continuous engagement adding that “today’s meeting has the backing of the government which desires solutions as quickly as possible.”

Consequently, he set up a 12-man taskforce to bring up solutions to this problem.

The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the taskforce include, that operators must put in place a robust and active back end to check cases of improperly registered SIM cards before activation, the use of electronic back end is preferable; the taskforce should also look at the sources of these improperly  and pre-registered SIM Cards by asking operators to look inwards to forestall insiders abuse, among many others.

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