FG Revised Policy On ‘SIM CARD’ Registration

By Sarauniya Usman Abuja

Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has directed the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to revise the Policy on ‘SIM Card’ registration and usage.

In a statement made available by
Technical Assistant Information Technology to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,Dr Femi Adeluyi, stated that
this is in line with the Powers of the Minister as stated in Section 25(1) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003- “the Minister shall, in writing, from time to time notify the Commission or and express his views on the general policy direction of the Federal Government in respect of the communications sector.”

The revision of the Policy which was based on the feedback received from the security agencies following the successful revalidation of improperly registered SIM cards in September 2019 and the blocking of those that failed to revalidate their SIMs.

The updated Policy is expected to include the following provisions, amongst others:

"Ensure that the National Identity Number (NIN) becomes a prerequisite for Nigerians registering new SIM cards (while for foreigners, their passports and visas should be used), while already registered SIM cards are to be updated with National Identity Number (NIN) before 1st December, 2020".

'Ensure that only fully accredited agents support the SIM card registration process without pre-registering SIM cards themselves, while the eventual registration should be done by the operators".

The policy also stated that there should be a maximum number of SIM cards that can be tied to a single individual, possibly a maximum of 3; to ensure that no unregistered SIMs are ever allowed on mobile networks;To ensure that subscribers can easily check the number of SIM cards registered to their name, along with the associated phone numbers and networks.

It stated that mobile network operators should fortify their networks against cyberattacks and ensure that they adhere to the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR); and to ensure that SIM cards that have been used to perpetrate crimes are permanently deactivated.

It also encourage NCC to provide progress reports on the implementation of the revised Policy.

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