The Federal Government has limited the maximum numbers of SIM Cards a single individual could register as his or hers to three to curb kidnapping and banditry.
This is contained in a directive by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Wednesday.
Dr Pantami, in a statement signed by his technical assistant on Information Technology, Dr Femi Adeluyi, directed the NCC to revise the Policy on SIM Card registration and usage by blocking all the loopholes in the current policy.
The minister said the revision of the policy 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, according to him, is expected to 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.
He also directed that NCC must 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.
Dr Pantami also said the NCC must ensure that ‘’There should be a maximum number of SIM cards that can be tied to a single individual, possibly a maximum of 3.
The telecom industry regulator must also ensure that no unregistered SIMs are ever allowed on mobile networks.
Other directives from the minister to NCC include: ‘’Ensure that subscribers can easily check the number of SIM cards registered to their name, along with the associated phone numbers and networks.
“Ensure that mobile network operators fortify their networks against cyber-attacks and ensure that they adhere to the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR).
“Ensure that SIM cards that have been used to perpetrate crimes are permanently deactivated.’’
The minister therefore ordered the NCC to provide him with progress reports on the implementation of the revised Policy.