The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has warned telecommunication subscribers against buying pre-registered Subscriber Identification Module cards (SIM).
Speaking at the ongoing Abuja International Trade Fair, the Acting Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta, said that selling, buying and using preregistered SIM cards was punishable by imprisonment.
Danbatta said, “We must speak to you about the issue of preregistered SIM cards. This is where criminally-minded people have utilised other peoples’ identities or fraudulent information to register and distribute SIM cards that are bought by innocent subscribers and criminally-minded ones for the purpose of committing fraud without being traced as the number they use do not bear their identities.
“We request you to avoid buying or distributing preregistered SIM cards as this is a criminal act punishable by imprisonment. Anybody involved in the sale, distribution or use of preregistered SIM card is considered a threat to national security, and if caught, will face the ugly consequences.
“The service providers have already been directed to disconnect any of these cards as no active SIM card is expected to be functional after 48 hours on the network.”
According to him, the decision to undertake drastic deactivation of SIM cards that were not properly registered during the SIM card registration exercise was to ensure the collective and individual security of Nigerians.
“The security of lives and properties of this nation far outweighs our individual conveniences, hence, our apologies for all the inconveniences as we urge you to support the commission to achieve this successfully,” he said.
He also said that the commission has stepped up its efforts to monitor and improve the quality of service in the industry, and it’s also considering a two-pronged approach to tackle the problem of unsolicited text messages.