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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is considering tagging fraudulently-registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards as treasonable felony with 25 years imprisonment after proof beyond reasonable doubt in a competent court of law.
The Commission drew the conclusion as a review of SIM registration exercise which started in 2011, has shown that “a total of 151,449,837 registration data of subscribers’ have been processed, with as high as 55,749,652 records valid, due to invalid face capturing and fingerprints.
NCC made it clear that once an agent engaging in pre-registered SIM cards is arrested, the 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.
Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management at NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare, who stated these during the South-South regional sensitisation workshop on the dangers of fraudulently-activated SIM cards organised by the Commission in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, insisted that the right things must be done to by the registration agents and their MNOs to curb the dangers posed by the menace.
Dare, represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement at the Commission, Mr. Efosa Idehen, 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, thereby constituting threats to national security and geopardising national interests.
Dare explained that aside several sanction 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 be pleading national security and national interests against anybody found culpable of fraudulently-registered SIM cards in the telecom industry.”
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