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How NCC exposed subscriber with 57 SIM cards registered on 1 network ─Minister

* Urges new NCC Board to link SIM cards to Digital, National ID, BVNs

* Says ‘There’s no time for honeymoon’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the recent Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards verification exercise for all registered telecom subscribers in Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Isa Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, says the recent verification of 9.4 million registered SIM cards revealed that a person registered 57 SIM cards in one telecom network.

Report says Dr. Pantami disclosed this Thursday, February 13 when receiving Prof. Adeolu Akande (South-West), who is the new Chairman of NCC Board, and Chief Uche Nwude (South-East), a non-Executive Commissioner, in his office, Abuja, FCT.

According to the Minister, the development was made known to him in a report by the NCC.

ConsumerConnect recalls that in September 2019, Pantami had mandated the Nigerian Communications Commission to review the registration of about 9.4million SIM cards suspected to be improperly registered across the country.

Incidentally, at the time, the Minister’s order came against the backdrop of intensifying spate of kidnapping and other forms of criminality in Nigeria. And the NCC immediately swung into action.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy has challenged the NCC Board to brace up for the challenges ahead.

“There is no time for honeymoon,” he Pantami said.

While enumerating the achievements recorded during the review exercise, he charged the Board to consolidate the achievements.

Registration of some of the SIM cards was partially completed, while others were pre-registered.

‘‘After that, the President has directed me and the security agencies to consolidate that achievement.

“Part of what you must address is to ensure that Nigerians do not have difficulties in SIM registration.

“In the document, we said a person can own three SIM cards. Look at it and find out if the number should be retained or increased.

‘‘From information available to me, one Nigerian registered 57 SIM cards in same network,” he stated.

He further said that though there is justification for a company, this is not acceptable.

“For me, number is key in security management,” the Minister said. If you must increase the number, there must be conditions and a level of flexibility,’’ the Minister told the Board.

Similarly, he charged them to ensure that SIM registration is linked to national ID so that all our SIM cards will be linked up with our digital ID.

‘‘Also ensure that SIM registration is linked to national ID, so that all our SIM cards will be linked up with our digital ID.

“It will be great injustice if we allow criminals to use telecom networks under our supervision to watch them perpetrate crime.

‘‘Many lives will be lost if we do not allow this happen. Let us ensure our country is protected and ensure that our platform is not use to commit crime in our country. We do hope you will hit the ground running,’’ he added.

Prof. Akande, Chairman of NCC, in his remark on behalf of other Board members, promised that they would exceed the 99.9 percent target set for them by Pantami.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC) of NCC, also assured of actualising the mandate.

He said if the problem of communication could be tackled, then the problem of insecurity would be reduced.

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