Nigerian consumers not disqualified from getting SIM cards ─NCC

*The Nigerian Communications Commission clarifies its draft regulatory proposal on registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards is intended to guarantee increased monitoring of children, and shield the minors from undue liabilities in line with NCC’s Child Online Protection drive

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has clarified that a recent report in a section of the media, alleging that the country’s telecoms regulatory Commission is developing a regulation to disqualify Nigerians below 18 years of age from getting Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards is misleading.

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, in a statement issued evening Wednesday, October 6, 2021, said that the Commission considered it necessary to set the record straight for the purpose of serving existing and potential telecoms subscribers, investors, and other stakeholders in the industry accurate information for making informed decisions.

Telecoms subscribers

The NCC Director of Public Affairs stated: “In accordance with Sections 70 and 71 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and the Commission’s consultative engagement process, which define its rule-making process, the public inquiry was held for all relevant stakeholders to provide input on the draft regulatory instrument.

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“The age of 18 years for SIM acquisition proposed in the draft regulation is contingent on the constitutional provision, which makes 18 years the age of consent in Nigeria.”

Dr. Adinde also noted that SIM acquisition is a contract between telecoms service providers and their subscribers.

According to him, this agreement between the two parties requires the subscriber to have proper legal status, be of matured mind and rational enough to bear certain responsibilities, obligations and liabilities imposed by a contract.

The Commission further said: “The proposal is, therefore, to protect minors.

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“Parents and guardians can acquire SIMs in their names on behalf of their children and wards, in which case they assume whatever responsibilities or liabilities arise from the usage of such SIMs, a measure expected to also strengthen national security.

“While the Commission is progressively pursuing digital inclusion for all, the draft proposal is intended to guarantee increased monitoring of children, and shield the minors from undue liabilities in line with NCC’s Child Online Protection drive.”

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The statement also said: “However, the consultative engagement process is still ongoing, as the Commission is reviewing all inputs from relevant stakeholders in this regard, and will consider and deliberate on all comments before issuing a final regulatory instrument.”

The NCC urged media stakeholders to always fact-check their stories pertaining to telecoms regulatory issues, and seek necessary clarifications for informed and accurate reportage as the Commission runs an open-house system, Adinde stated.

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