The Federal Government has said it has blocked a total of 2,277,311 improperly registered telephone lines.The development followed a directive issued to the Nigeria Communications Commission by the Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Pantami. Pantami had ordered the NCC to compel service providers to block all unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards, pending when their owners regularise their registration.
There were 9.2 million improperly registered SIM cards at the time the directive was issued on September 12, but a statement by the ministry on Saturday said 6,830,249 of the lines were revalidated by September 25. According to the report submitted by the Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC on Thursday, a total of 2,277,311 improperly registered lines had been blocked.
“Pantami has reiterated the need for all improperly registered SIM cards to remain blocked until they are properly registered,” the statement by the Deputy Director/Head Information/Press and PR Unit, Mrs Philomena Oshodin, said.
The statement described the development as “unprecedented”, coming just 36 days after Pantami assumed office. According to the statement, the minister commended the NCC and telecoms operators for obeying the minister’s directive.
The ministry said it was collaborating with the relevant parastatals and security agencies to ensure the protection of life and property in the country was not compromised through the use of SIM cards.
The statement added that Pantami has also “directed that the profiles of persons linked to crime, aided and abetted by the use of SIM cards, should be promptly provided to the relevant security agencies when requested and a copy be sent to him for monitoring”.
According to the statement, the ministry will continue to work with the relevant parastatals and security agencies to ensure that SIM card numbers are not used for criminal activities. Meanwhile, the NCC says it has deactivated all Subscriber Identity Module cards without proper registration in the country.
A source at the commission confirmed this to our correspondent on Thursday. The source said this was in line with the directive issued by the Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ibrahim, who gave an ultimatum to the NCC to deactivate all improperly registered SIM cards by September 25.
The minister had said that the short-term performance report submitted by the NCC to the ministry stated that about 9.2 million SIM cards did not comply with the proper procedures of SIM registration. Punch
Pix: NCC headquarters, Abuja