The minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami has once again given a directive to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). This time, it is to review the SIM card registration and usage policy in order to fix some shortcomings in it.
This review is expected to further promote safety with the use of SIM cards, while reducing the crimes perpetuated through them. On the back of this, there are new prerequisites that need to be adhered to.
For Nigerians registering new SIM cards, it will have to be through National Identity Number (NIN) while foreigners will do the same with their passports. As a result, existing users are expected to update their details with their NINs before December 1, 2020.
In hindsight, this may translate to another rigorous exercise in the making for both users and operators asides the cost implication.
As the case is, NCC will hold the operators liable to carry out the registration process without the involvement of unaccredited parties who may engage in pre-registration of SIM cards. On the other hand, network providers are obliged to properly secure their database to prevent cyberattacks while making sure people's details are insured.
In a way, operators may not have to deal with most of the previous issues around incomplete registration for existing users, seeing that NCC recently reported that over 2.2 million improperly registered SIM cards have been blocked through the recent round of SIM registration.
On the part of the regulators, NCC is directed to ensure that no subscriber's information is associated with more than three SIM cards.
Consequently, due diligence on the part of subscribers would be to register for or retrieve their NIN and desist from giving fake personal information during the process.
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This new development, when implemented, is expected to increase the accountability of users for the activities carried out through their phone numbers, and largely minimise the horror stories associated with fraudulent phone calls and text messages.