He said registering SIM cards was necessary to prevent the harassment many Nigerians have undergone in recent years, due to individuals who use mobile phones to perpetrate crime.
Says The Vice Chairman, Mr Ernest Ndukwe: “It is of my opinion that there should be public awareness through aggressive promotions in all media (especially mass media) by both the Nigerian regulatory body (NCC) and all the GSM mobile operators to make the subscribers know the importance of the SIM card registration from now till the end of the registration period,”
“NCC should also work hand in hand with the National Identity Card Management Commission in order to ensure the success of this program since it is widely known that there is absence of an authentic identity data in Nigeria. The success of the SIM registration process will one way or the other assist in the proposed implementation of Mobile Number Portability which is under way.”
The major hurdle in the process according to the NCC Vice Chairman is the lack of an effective Identity Management System, but arrangement have been made to support the process of registration, making it possible for the registration of SIM to be implemented even in the rural areas.
The NCC announced the plans in August 2008 to commence the process of registration of mobile users, especially those on the popular pre-paid plans, who use SIM cards that are hawked along the streets and roadsides across the country. Nigeria’s total mobile subscribers’ base hit 67 million in February 2009.
Some countries in Africa and the world that already have or are contemplating SIM card registers include, South Africa, Germany, Italy, UK, Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Turkey, Pakistan, Slovenia, Botswana, Nigeria, Egypt and Ghana.