The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has instructed Telcos in the country to halt the sale and reactivation of new SIM cards
In a letter dated December 7, 2020, the commission stated that its set to conduct an audit of the subscriber registration database.
“In accordance with the federal government directive to consolidate the achievement of the SIM card registration exercise and verify compliance, the commission is embarking on an audit of the subscriber registration database to ensure compliance to set quality standards and requirements,” the letter signed by A.I. Sholanke, NCC director for projects, read.
“Accordingly, you are hereby directed to suspend the sale and activation of new SIM cards on your network until the audit exercise is completed.
“However, when it is absolutely necessary, an exemption may be granted following approval from the federal government through the Nigerian Communications Commission.
“Please note that failure to comply with this directive will be met with strict sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.”
According to a statement released by Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC director for public affairs, on Wednesday, he said the directive became unavoidable given the background of the “preponderance of pre-registered SIMs with the attendant security implications associated with the use of same to facilitate criminal activities”.
The exercise commenced in 2011 with the introduction of the Subscriber Registration Regulations and registration specifications in 2011.
It reached its peak in August 2015 when telcos were given an ultimatum to disconnect SIMs found not to be fully compliant with registration requirements, with the attendant consequences.
In 2019, the commission stated that it discovered that the SIM registration of 95.7 million subscribers did not follow the NCC stipulations.
In November 2015, the regulator fined all the four major telcos for their violation of Section 20(1) of the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulation of 2011.