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Nigeria: Why Telecoms Regulator Insists SIM Registration A Must

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said that the objective of the mandatory subscriber registration was to assist in easy identification of mobile telephone users and for easy detection of crimes committed through the use of mobile phones.

NCC added that in keeping with the spirit of the Subscribers Registration Guidelines instituted 8 years ago, it is compulsory that all subscribers to telecom services in Nigeria properly register their SIM cards.

Sunday Dare, NCC’s Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management reiterated this in Enugu yesterday at a sensitisation workshop held to emphasize the Commission’s commitment to rid the telecom landscape of pre-registered SIM cards.

NCC’s Director of Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen, who represented Dare at the event, stated that the objective of the mandatory subscriber registration was to assist in easy identification of mobile telephone users and for easy detection of crimes committed through the use of mobile phones.

Accordingly, NCC has had several meetings and sensitisation workshops with an array of stakeholders, and also issued several key directions to ensure proper governance of the SIM acquisition and utilisation process.

One of the directions is that any registered and activated MSISDN with no Revenue Generating Event (RGE) within 48 hours should automatically be returned to one way activation. In addition, in June 2015, NCC directed all operators to mop up all the SIMs deemed to be “pre-registered” on their networks and submit reports to the Commission. An additional instruction was issued in October 2016 that SIM Registration should only take place in “controlled environments” and traceable to a specific registration agent. A controlled environment is within permanent structures.

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Idehen stated that infractions against the extant directions explained why some registration agents were arrested, registration machines confiscated, huge caches of fully activated SIMs have been confiscated, and many suspects are being prosecuted. He then urged the general public to report cases of illegal SIM card registration to the Commission or law enforcement agencies.

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