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SIM cards registration begins in Nigeria

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The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has commenced the process of registration of Sim Cards in a bid to tackle security threats posed by some GSM suscribers.

To this effect it has set up a committee to determine the modalities and come up with a time frame within which the exercise will commence.

Speaking at the consultative meeting with network operators and other stakeholders in Abuja, yesterday, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Engineer Ernest C. Ndukwe said the committee has four weeks to submit its reports from the date of its first meeting.

Members of the committee are representatives of the NCC, Telecom Operators, INEC, National Identity Card Management Agency, security agencies and Sim Cards dealers.

Ndukwe said the consultative meeting is intended to contribute to an evidence-based policy guideline on a practical regulatory regime on registration of pre-paid Sim Cards and to ensure that mobile services remain a tool for social and economic development.

“The commission has been deliberating on the issue for sometime and additionally we have received complaints from security agencies expressing growing concern about the use of mobile phones to commit crimes and the difficulty in tracking down the perpetrators who take advantage of unregistered Sim Cards especially for pre-paid customers.

He said the whole idea is to have a workable regulatory regime for Sim Cards, adding that a definite time frame will be set when operators will be required to ensure compliance in recording the personal details of all customers who buy prepaid Sim Cards.

“Subscribers can continue to use their pre-paid Sim cards if they register their particulars with their mobile operators during the registration period. All unregistered prepaid cards may be deactivated by the deadline of the registration period”.

He assured Nigerians that whatever recommendations the committee would come up with must be basic, simple and will take cognizance of the need of the ordinary person. “We’re not going to make it in such a way that an ordinary person will find it difficult to have a Sim card register. Most Nigerians are law abiding but there are few who are not, so it is very important to make it safe for all to use and we will make it as simple as possible”

Hamisu Muhammad and Abbas Jimoh

Source: Daily Trust

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