By Na’ankwat Dariem
Nigeria government says out of the Nine Million, two hundred thousand Invalidly registered Subscriber Identity Module, SIM cards has been rectified by 73.61% and has issued 25 September as deadline on the use of invalidly-registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards.
The Minister of Communications, Dr. Ibrahim Pantami stated this in Abuja’s Nigeria’s capital at the inauguration of four new members of Board of the NCC.
He commended the Nigerian Communications Commission for its efforts in reducing the number of Invalidly –registered SIM cards in use in the country from 9. 2 million to 2.42 million within a week.
Pantami explained that “ number of unregistered and incomplete SIM cards have been significantly reduced. Within this period they were able to rectify at least 6.775 million incomplete registration. So the total number of incomplete registration as at today is 2.42 million so the reduction within this period is 73.6 per cent. It was from 9.2 million to 2.42, I think this is a significant achievement and this is highly commendable. Please maintain the tempo with the support of your board”
This is coming after the Minister had earlier directed NCC to block 9.2 million SIM in use across the country which includes cards that did not meet proper registration standards until users comply with proper re-registration procedures.
Pantami, who expressed concern over the security implication on the nation said the Commission having rectified 6.775m out of the original 9.2m improperly registered SIM cards should proceed with the deactivation of the remaining number.
He directed the regulator to notify all Mobile Network Operators that after September 25th any SIM that is involved in any criminal act should be traceable to a particular individual.
This will help reduced criminality and curb insecurity in the country.
‘‘I have a breaking news for you after my announcement last week of the 9.2million SIM cards in circulation, NCC Executive Vice Chairman has just briefed me that about 6.775million has been rectified.
‘‘We believe that on the 25th September, 2019 we don’t want to have single incomplete registration of SIM cards in Nigeria. This means we have only 2.24million yet to be rectified. So, we want them to be properly rectified on or before 25th September, 2019.’’
In that direction, we want the management to immediately inform the telecoms. After 25th of September if a crime is committed and SIM is used, we only need the number of that SIM from the regulator to know the identity of the person who committed the crime. With that a lot will be achieved. We will submit the identity to the security agencies,” he said.
Pantami also noted that the NCC had briefed him on the 200 access gap in the country where also 40 million Nigerians do not currently have access to telecoms services and which he said must be addressed.
“We would have succeeded in doubling the sector’s GDP contribution if we work together to close about 80 per cent of 200 access gap. As part of measure to achieve this, the NCC has told us about its plan to have access point in all the 774 local government area in the country and as a ministry, we won’t hesitate to give you necessary support in this regard” The Minister stated.
The Minister further explained that the many years of telecoms revolution in Nigeria have been quite rewarding although more still needs to be done by the stakeholders, “in order to continue the auspicious march toward fully transforming Nigeria into a truly digital and knowledge-based economy” as ICT remains a key driver of the economy of all progressive nations,” Pantami said.
While congratulating the new board members, he urged them to “work together with existing board members of the Commission on how we can effectively utilize telecoms and Information and Communications Technology(ICT) in general to support the tripartite agenda of President to improve economy and reduce poverty as well as fight corruption,” Dr. Pantami explained.
Responding on behalf of the board, the Chairman, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye thanked the President for giving them the opportunity to serve our nation. ‘‘We want to assure the President and members of the public that by the grace of God we will not disappoint the nation,”he said.
He assured that the board members “would try our best to ensure a level playing ground for operators in the industry and ensure they play the game according to the rules,” Durojaiye stated.
Other members of the board include: Professor Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services
Mr. Ubale Maske ,Mr. Clement Baiye, Professor Millionaire Abowei , Mr. Abdulaziz Suleiman and Mr. Aliyu Abubakar, three of who are Non-executive Commissioners.