Some subscribers across telecommunication networks have urged the Federal Government and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to blame the network providers for not properly registering their Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs). 

Managing Partner, Mobility Network, a mobile network consultancy firm, Yomi Adegboye, told Nairametrics that blocking subscribers’ SIM cards is like blaming them for the failure of the telcos to register their cards, a development he described as punishing the innocent for negligence on the part of the service providers.

He noted that some of the subscribers had registered their SIMs but shocked to received short message system from their network providers requesting them to register their SIMs again. 

He said, “I have heard several instances where subscribers including my mother had to register their SIMs two or three times within the last two years and they keep receiving messages from service providers that their cards are not registered.  

“Before blocking cards, I expect the commission to conduct a thorough research on the technicalities behind SIM registration in Nigeria. Sometimes last year, I decided to buy another SIM from same provider and was shocked when the telco’s agent told me I had to start the registration process from the beginning when I expected her to get my thumbprint, which should provide all details I dropped when I registered the first SIM.” 

[READ MORE: NCC moves to combat fake phones, blame devices for poor network coverage]

On the implication of the development on security, Chief Operating Officer, Eagle Watch, Babatunde Ajoto, agreed with Adegboye that much attention should be paid to the telcos’ registration processes by the regulator. 

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According to him, the development threatens mobile forensics in fighting crime by Nigeria’s military. In some instance, he argued that his findings revealed that some cards were registered on traceable addresses or even recognizable photographs but when you go to the operator, you discover that some lines are blank and there is no face attached to it.  

He said, “In other cases, the registration official registered the card without any method of confirmation. And so, when it comes to the analysis, you discover you are hitting brick walls because when you do forensic analysis, it becomes extremely impossible to use numbers that do not have a name or traceable identity.”  

Meanwhile, the Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Patanmi, disclosed in a tweet on Thursday that all unregistered SIM cards would remain blocked until their users present themselves. 

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He tweeted“As at today, preliminary investigation revealed, we have over nine million unregistered SIM cards in Nigeria, I have directed the NCC to immediately block those numbers until the users present themselves.”  

[READ ALSO: Systems Upgrade: NCC to cater for 40 million disconnected Nigerians]

When contacted on the telephone on Thursday evening, NCC Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, who was outside the country, said that the Commission would look at ways to get the operators to comply with the minister’s directive. 

 

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