The Nigerian government has ordered the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to review SIM card registration in the country. The move is to regulate mobile numbers and curb the upsurge of security challenges in the country.
Mobile penetration in Nigeria is placed at about 100%, with the locals having two or more SIM cards. However, amidst the increase in SIM card usage and mobile penetration, there has also been misuse of this technology for dubious means.
Kidnapping, killing, extortions (419), and other vices pervade the country through calls using multiple SIM cards. Thus, the need to curb this growing menace spurred NCC’s decision.
The Nigerian Communication Commission is, therefore, saddled with the task of revising the policy on SIM card registration and usage. NCC also wants to limit the number of SIM cards that can be registered by an individual to three.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Alhaji Isa Ibrahim Pantami, agrees that the review is of immense importance. He explained that kidnappers utilize the flexibility in owning and registering SIM cards to demand ransoms from relatives of their victims. They are thereby putting many lives at risk.
The decision is also part of the feedback the Nigerian government received from security agencies in the country and the improper revalidation of registered SIM cards.
However, the Association of Telecoms Companies in Nigeria have a contrary opinion about the revised policy.
The association, through its President Olusola Teniola, noted that criminally minded individual will still find their ways around the restriction. This can be done through the assignment of National Identity numbers to register as many SIM cards as possible.
Olusola advised the government to adopt the postcode system and digital address system used in the United Kingdom and Ghana.