Nigeria Telecommunications Commission (NCC) has vowed to prosecute any service provider, SIM registration agent as well as subscribers found selling and using pre-registered SIM cards in the country.
This was revealed by the commission’s Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement officer, Mr. Efosa Idehen, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Salisu
Abdu, while speaking journalists during a one-day regional sensitisation workshop on “Dangers of dealing in fraudulently- activated SIM cards,” on Tuesday in Gombe.
He said the objective of the subscriber registration was basically to assist in easy identification of mobile telephone users. He, however, added that some agents of mobile network operators produced fully registered and activated SIM cards with fraudulent details and sale same to customers, “hence the act has made it difficult to investigate crimes being committed through the use of such SIM cards.”
Lamenting the pace of the mandatory Subscriber Registration, Mr Sunday Dare,
NCC Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, who was represented by his special assistant, Babatunde Akpeji, said the journey had not been as smooth as it should be after eight years “given the very comprehensive efforts that went into the design of the process. It is painful to note that we still have cases of sale of pre-registered SIMs, cases of breach of SIM registration processes, fraudulent registrations and other breaches.”
He added that to address the concerns, NCC had, had several meetings and sensitisation workshops with the different stakeholder groups across the industry and also a direction mandating that any registered and activated MSISDN with no Revenue Generating Event (RGE) within 48 hours should automatically be returned to one way activation ‘that is receive only.’
“Further to these directions, the commission has carried out enforcement activities throughout the country. Registration agents have been arrested, registration machines confiscated, huge caches of fully-activated SIMs have been confiscated; suspects are being criminally prosecuted, fines have been imposed. Sadly, however, despite these efforts, we still receive security reports of the existence of pre-registered SIM cards, Mr Sunday added.
He also revealed that the availability of improperly-registered SIM card in any corner of Nigeria is a threat to the security of all and that such SIM cards make it possible to commit financial crimes and makes it difficult for law enforcement agents to apprehend persons involved in such criminal activities.
“They can be used in the perpetration of horrible crimes like terrorism, kidnapping and similar felonies, making suspects virtually untraceable. The NCC will, therefore, not relent in its efforts to curb this menace. It is in our collective interest that we do so,” he said.