The Federal Government has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to block 9.2 million SIM cards not properly registered by their owners.
The Minister of Communications Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami gave the directive in a statement issued in Abuja Thursday night. Dr Pantami said the NCC should immediately rein on the telecom operators in the country to cut off the erring subscribers from telecom network.
The statement signed by his spokesperson Uwa Suleiman said, “In line with the directives of the Honourable Minister of Communications Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS FBCS MCPN on assumption of office to all Agencies and Parastatals under his purview, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has submitted its baseline short-term performance targets report.
“The report Signed by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission contained precise figures of improperly registered SIM cards in use around the country. The Commission in its report disclosed that an estimated nine million two hundred thousand (9.2M) SIM cards did not comply with the proper procedures of SIM registration. The investigation which was carried out at the behest of the minister, has exposed for the first time in the Telecoms history of Nigeria, in precise detail, the magnitude of defaulters.
“Reacting to the report, the minister expressed concern over the security implication of this discovery and further directed that the Telecoms regulator, should with immediate effect, ensure that all improperly registered numbers are duly reregistered.
“To ensure maximum compliance, Dr Pantami, has directed NCC to ensure all mobile network operators block all SIM cards that do not meet proper registration standards until users comply with proper reregistration procedures.”
The security implication of this irregularity, according to the minister, “is too grave to ignore and the Federal Government will not tolerate any actions or inactions that will compromise the nation’s security.”