A few years ago, it became mandatory for every SIM to be registered in the country, to help tackle crime and terrorism. In fact, MTN, the largest operating telecommunication firm in Nigeria was charged with a $5.2b fine for failing to disconnect subscribers with unregistered SIMs. In 2010, the Nigerian government initiated the policy for all SIM cards across Nigeria to be registered, to easily crackdown on crime and terrorism. However, it’s quite unfortunate that for seven years now, the problem still persists, thereby frustrating the efforts of the Nigerian army to ensure maximum security. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Tukur Burattai raised this alarm recently.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had a meeting with all the telecom operators and informed them that legal actions will be taken up against defaulters, as the issues with unregistered SIMs will no longer be tolerated. To further clarify its new stance, an unregistered SIM should be allowed entry into the market.
The Executive Chairman, Professor Damabata reminded the representatives at the meeting that the issue with unregistered SIM cards and security has been a point of agenda at several meetings in the last two years; yet, there’s no record of success from that time. Accordingly, this form of negligence is a breach Subscribers Registration Regulation as the subject of security is a topmost priority, with the never-ending tales of terrorist attacks and cybercrimes in Nigeria. He, therefore, called on relevant authorities to revisit the situation and put an end to the incessant failures as this will prevent a danger from looming in the near future.
Notably, General Samuel Adebayo who represented Lt-Gen. Burattai at the event noted that the Nigerian Army has recorded some progress in the past few months following their use of forensic technology to tackle robbery, terrorism, kidnapping and other related crimes. However, the major hurdle is with identifying suspects in attacks due to the use of unregistered SIM cards. On this premise, security is halfway at the mercy of telecom operators in Nigeria.
The meeting ended with the NCC setting up a 12-man taskforce, which incorporates representatives of each telecommunication firm to investigate and invent new strategies to bring this threat to a halt.