Nigeria deactivates 2.2mn improperly registered SIM cards

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the national telecommunications regulator, stated that it had deactivated 2.2mn of improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards across telecommunications networks nationwide in the second phase of the deactivation process, taking out seven million in the first phase in September 2019

“By our records, all improperly-registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards across Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in Nigeria have been completely deactivated,” the executive vice-chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Garba Danbatta, has said.

The Commission’s efforts in this regard are in line with one of the major agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari to strengthen the security of lives and property for all Nigerians.

The EVC said, “Over the years, the NCC has tenaciously worked with determination and through various policy initiatives, to rid mobile networks of improperly or invalidly-registered SIM cards to ensure that all the current over 184mn registered SIM cards/mobile lines across MNOs’ networks have valid data that are traceable and not anonymous.

“Our efforts received a boost, following the implementation of a 12 September 2019 Ministerial directive that the NCC should compel service providers to block all improperly-registered SIM cards, pending when their owners regularise their registration.”

Following the September 2019 Ministerial directive, however, the NCC, within a week, intensified efforts by reducing the number of improperly-registered SIM cards from 9.2mn to 2.2mn.

“We have since initiated the second phase of SIM deactivation based on the Ministerial directive, and we have completely deactivated the remaining 2.2mn lines on the networks. This is contrary to reports by a section of the media, suggesting that nothing has been done with respect to the issue of improperly-registered SIM cards,” he said.

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