The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is set to use the provisions of the Constitution bordering on national security and interests to prosecute anyone involve in fraudulently activating SIM cards. “Section 148 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 mandated the Commission to be guided by national interests and security in the execution of its mandate”.
Efosa Idehen, NCC’s Director for Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement stated this in a paper titled: “Dangers of Dealing on Fraudulently Activated SIM Cards”, presented today in Port Harcourt at a Regional Sensitization Workshop focused on issues affecting Subscriber registration. Idehen’s declaration underscores the centrality of security among factors underpinning the birth of Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulation of 2011. Thus, he appealed to “stakeholders in the SIM registration value-chain to place security above any other consideration”.
Earlier, Sunday Dare, NCC’s Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, in an address to the Workshop presented on his behalf by Idehen, stated that the telecom revolution generated security concerns, such as kidnappings that made SIM registration imperative. Dare therefore urged stakeholders to avoid fraud and breaches in the processes of SIM registration and usage because of the dangerous implications for personal and national security.
June Nezianya, Principal Manager, Legal and Regulatory Services Department of NCC, who made a presentation on the SIM card regulations, noted that subscribers information are protected but may be released to appropriate officers of law who may require them as part of the processee of law enforcement. Similarly, Samuel Obianke, Senior Manager at the Commission’s Information Technology Department also made a presentation on the SIM registration backend, to explain to the audience the processes involved in cleansing the registration records before they are transmitted to the National Identity Management Commission – the agency of government vested with national identity management.
Terese Saror, a Manager in the Project Department of NCC also revealed in his presentation on SIM registration and expectations from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and agents, that about 155, 500,000 records of subscribers were processed since 2011 when the process started but only about 56,000,000 conformed to the instituted and standardized subscribers registration processes, thus rendering almost two-thirds of the records invalid.
The workshop, attended by a large, visibly enthusiastic group of stakeholders, was patently participatory and quite productive. In the closing remarks made by Salisu Abdu, Head of Enforcement at NCC, he thanked the participants for their active participation and emphasised the need for continuous collaboration among all stakeholders to ensure order in the telecom sector.