Written by Sarah NEGEDU

NCC moves to stop menace of unregistered, pre-registered SIM cards

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, said it is set to clampdown on owners and users of unregistered and pre-registered Subscriber Identification Module, SIM, cards in the country, saying the country cannot afford the risk such practices pose to its citizens.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made the declaration at a meeting with all the telecommunications operators.

Making reference to security reports from the office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, and implication of non-compliance to the Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulation 2011, by the telcos, Danbatta said it can no longer be business as usual.

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

He said the menace of improperly registered, unregistered and pre-registered SIM cards will no longer be tolerated, consequently, he set up a 12-man taskforce to bring up solutions to the problem.  

The terms of reference include 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 the improperly and pre-registered SIM cards by asking operators to look inwards to forestall insider abuse; clear up the systems regularly to wipe off and segregate between real and fake data among others 

The taskforce headed by Mr. Efosa Idehen, Head, Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement of the NCC, has six weeks to submit its report to the EVC for onward transmission to the office of the National Security Adviser.

Other members include, Mr. Bashir Idris, Head, Projects; Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, Head, Legal and Regulatory Services and Mr. Salisu Abdu, Head, Enforcement all of NCC.

The telecos are also represented in the taskforce by a member each. They include Mr. Tobechukwu Okigbo (MTN), Mr. Oluwatosin Cole (GloMobile), Mr. Sola Adeyemi (Airtel) and Mr. Damian Udeh (ntel) as members.

The NCC Director, Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, said the meeting on was the high point 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.

He listed several security challenges that have bedeviled the country as a result of the menace of 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 are real and everybody will lose at the end, hence the need to address it now before the situation went out of hand.

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