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‘It is Criminal’; NCC Warns Nigerians Against Pre-Registered SIM Cards

Lagos, Nigeria – May 18, 2024 – The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has issued a stern warning to Nigerians against the purchase and use of pre-registered SIM cards. This practice, deemed illegal by the NCC, could lead to severe legal consequences and poses significant risks to personal and national security.

In an advisory note shared on its official X handle on Friday, the telecom regulator emphasized the dangers associated with pre-registered SIM cards. The NCC highlighted that using such SIM cards compromises the accuracy of consumer information, which is vital for maintaining a secure and reliable telecommunications network.

“Buying pre-registered SIM cards is criminal and may lead to imprisonment, implication in identity theft, financial fraud, kidnapping, and armed robbery,” the advisory stated. The NCC explained that pre-registered SIM cards undermine the reliability of data collected on consumers, making it difficult for authorities to track and apprehend the actual perpetrators of crimes.

'It is Criminal'; NCC Warns Nigerians Against Pre-Registered SIM Cards NCC Warns Nigerians Against Pre Registered SIM Cards
'It is Criminal'; NCC Warns Nigerians Against Pre-Registered SIM Cards | Image No. 1

The Importance of Accurate SIM Registration

The NCC’s warning aims to educate the public on the risks associated with pre-registered SIM cards and to encourage compliance with legal guidelines. Accurate registration of SIM cards is crucial for enhancing national security and ensuring that the telecommunications infrastructure is used responsibly.

The advisory also serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to streamline the identification process in Nigeria. In recent years, telecommunications companies have directed their subscribers to link their SIM cards to their National Identification Numbers (NINs). This initiative, launched by the Nigerian government in December 2020, aims to combat scams and improve the accuracy of subscriber information.

Enforcement of SIM-NIN Linkage

The NCC has mandated that all telecommunications operators enforce complete network barring on phone lines that are not linked to a NIN. This measure is part of a broader strategy to ensure that all mobile users are properly identified, thereby reducing the risk of fraud and other criminal activities.

There have been two phases of barring SIM cards not linked to NIN by the telcos – the first on February 28 and the second on March 29. To accommodate the needs of subscribers, the NCC has extended the deadline for linking SIM cards to NINs to July 31, 2024, from the original date of April 15. This extension specifically applies to subscribers with more than four SIM cards.

Stephen Ekpa

Stephen is the Editor-in-Chief @DroidAfrica. He has been in the tech space for over 6 years helping mobile technology users to understand more about their very own devices. His work on DroidAfrica is born out of a pure passion for tech, especially as it relates to smartphones.

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