The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has directed all phone users to submit their International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) to the Commission within three months (July), but several Nigerians are not sure what the motive behind this directive is.
A check of the commission’s Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration revealed that the implementation of the Centralized Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) otherwise known as Device Management System (DMS) will serve as a repository for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ IMEI and owners of such devices.
The IMEI number is the mobile phone’s fingerprint. It is a 15-digit number unique to each phone. With the IMEI number, a phone can be tracked and located irrespective of the cellular number in it.
Who will have access to the DMS?
The document stated that IMEIs which have been reported as either stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators, service providers and registered phone repairers.
It stated, “The purpose is to ensure that such devices do not work even if different SIM Cards are inserted in those devices. DMS will also provide access to all operators to cross-check the IMEIs and their status before allowing a device to become active on their network.
Furthermore, registered mobile phone technicians will also be provided with an interface to check IMEIs and ensure it has not been reported as stolen or illegal before they render their technical services.
To achieve this, the NCC would be responsible for the implementation and management of the DMS to achieve the policy objectives. Accordingly, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR has directed that the Device Management System should be implemented within three months.”
What NCC is saying about IMEI policy
The NCC said, “With the aim to curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile phone theft, enhance National Security, protect consumer interest, increase revenue generation for the government, reduce the rate of kidnapping, mitigate the use of stolen phones for crime, and facilitate blocking or tracing of stolen mobile phones and other smart devices, one of the means to achieve this is through the deployment of Device Management System.”