Unregistered SIM Cards: NCC sets up 12-man taskforce to tackle menace

unregistered SIM cards

Worried by the dangers of incidences of improperly registered, unregistered or pre-registered SIM Cards, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday summoned all the telecom operators in Nigeria to Abuja, intimating them that the gloves were off on the relationship between the two on the issue of continued sale of unregistered SIM cards.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta while addressing the operators, reminded them that the issue had been the highpoint of several meetings initiated by the Commission in the last two years with a view to finding solutions to the recurrent dangers of the menace.

Danbatta highlighted the fears of every Nigerian on the issue especially as security reports from the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) indicated that it breaches the security of the country.

He also warned the operators against sanctions as the offence of unregistered Sim cards is a breach of the Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulation 2011.

He said: “We must safeguard lives and properties of Nigerians who travel by road especially now and the festive seasons and others who may be threatened or blackmailed via unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards”.

Meanwhile the commission set up a 12-man taskforce to monitor operators, ensure complianc and report back on the strategies to nip the menace in the bud.

The Taskforce which has six weeks to submit its report to the EVC for onward transmission to the ONSA has Mr. Efosa Idehen, Head, Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement at NCC as Chairman; Mr. Bashir Idris, Head, Projects; Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, Head, Legal & Regulatory Services and Mr. Salisu Abdu, Head, Enforcement all of NCC as members.

The telcos have a member each. These are Mr. Tobechukwu Okigbo (MTN); Mr. Oluwatosin Cole (GloMobile); Mr. Sola Adeyemi (Airtel) and Mr. Damian Udeh (ntel) as members.

unregistered SIM cards

The list also include Mr. Ikenna Iheme (9Mobile); Mr. Gbolahan Thomas (Smile) and Ms Barbara Anozia (Visafone); Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is represented by Major Emmanuel Akpan Bassey.

Terms of reference of the taskforce include that:

*Operators must put in place a robust and active back end to check cases of improperly registered SIM Cards before activation.  The use of electronic back end is preferable;

*The Taskforce should also look at the sources of these improperly  and pre-registered SIM Cards by asking operators to look inwards to forestall insiders abuse;

*Processes are regularly fine-tuned to establish the integrity of data captured;

*Clear up the systems regularly to wipe off an segregate between real and fake data;

*The Taskforce is also to re-examine the 2015 agreement the Commission had with telcos with a view to harmonizing that and add new solutions;

*To put in place proactive measures to nip criminal activities in the bud, beating them in their own game;

*Suggest preventive measures for the telcos to beef up the integrity of their registering processes.