The nation’s telecom regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has warned SIM Card merchants and subscribers not to use the recent lifting of the ban against registration of new Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards as an excuse to break the law on illegal registration of SIMs.
Speaking on the heels of the recent arrest of five suspected individuals for allegedly engaging in fraudulent registration and selling of SIM cards, after routine enforcement activities to sanitise the industry of criminal elements by the NCC, NCC’s Head of Enforcement, Salisu Abdu, who led the joint enforcement exercise, said: “Though the Federal Government recently lifted the ban on sale of new SIM cards, it should be noted that proper registration of SIM cards and linking them to National Identity Number (NIN) before activation has now become a prerequisite.”
The hitch-free operation was carried out by a joint team from the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department of the Commission, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in the Wuse area of Abuja.
The arrested suspects were subsequently handed over to the NSCDC Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command, Wuse, Abuja for further investigation with respect to the allegations levelled against them.
Commenting on the enforcement operation, Abdu said the exercise was part of the routine activities embarked upon by the Commission to rid the industry of criminal elements engaging in fraudulent registration of SIM cards.
He said pre-registering a SIM card is an offence punishable under relevant regulations in the telecom sector and constitutes a breach of national security.
“It is criminal and fraudulent to pre-register a SIM card in Nigeria and it is an offence punishable under the law,” he said.
Abdu warned those who are engaged in the unlawful registration of SIM cards to desist from the illegal act, noting that the Commission will continue to collaborate with relevant law enforcement agencies in its routine enforcement activities in order to rid the industry of individuals, who have resolved to contravene SIM registration regulations.
The enforcement activities will continue in other locations across the FCT and other states of the country.