The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday threatened to charge people involved in subscriber identity module (SIM) card pre-registration with felony which carries 25 years imprisonment.
It also said since the SIM registration exercise started in 2011, a total of 151,449,837 registration data of subscribers have been processed while only 55,749,652 records are valid. The remaining 63.2 per cent of the data is invalid because of invalid face capturing and fingerprints. This, it said, underscored the importance of proper SIM registration.
The Commission warned that henceforth, any agent caught engaging in SIM cards pre-registration will be arrested and charged to court. Culpability in such a case will cascade to other players in the SIM registration value chain including the super agents, the Heads of Marketing of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and possibly the Chief Executives of licensees, who illegally benefit from such illegal SIM registration activities to meet their marketing targets.
Its Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr. Sunday Dare, who gave the warning during the South-south regional sensitization workshop on the dangers of fraudulently-activated SIM cards organized by the Commission in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the right things must be done by the registration agents and their MNOs to curb the dangers posed by the menace.
Represented by NCC Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr. Efosa Idehen, the Executive Commissioner said the new moves follow eight years of continuously fighting cases of fraudulently-registered or activated SIM cards by the Commission starting from 2012, without appreciable compliance by the MNOs and their different layers of registration agents across the country.
Dare explained that aside several sanctions provided in the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations 2011 for improperly-registered SIM cards per SIM cards, penalty for violation, imposition of N1 million on person found to be dealing with subscriber information in a manner inconsistent with the regulations, arrest and prosecution, among others, which the Commission has been enforcing, the NCC will begin to plead national security and national interests against anybody found culpable of fraudulently-registered SIM cards.
cate all players in the SIM registration value chain on the dangers posed by fraudulently-registered SIM cards to the country’s national security.
“It is no longer going to be business as usual for all players in the SIM registration value chain. We will no longer allow some deviants to jeopardize our national interest and national security.
“Today, cases of fraudulently-registered SIM cards have been aiding and abating robbery cases, kidnappings, financial frauds and all manners of criminalities where the anonymity of the registered subscribers makes criminal investigation difficult for the law enforcement agencies.
“That is why we will now be pleading breach of national interest in the prosecution of arrested perpetrators of pre-registered SIM cards,” Idehen said.