NCC orders blockage of SIM cards used by kidnappers, fraudsters

THE DAILY TIMES Newspaper- Tony Nwakaegho

*Warns service providers to comply or face severe sanctions Worried by the increasing threat to the nation’s security and economy following the use of pre-registered Subscriber Information Module (SIM) cards, the Nigerian Communication Commission has asked all the telecom providers in the country to immediately block all such pre-registered SIM cards. The NCC, while taking the stern measure, said it was alarmed by the rate at which they were being used by criminals, especially kidnappers, armed robbers and fraudsters to perpetuate crime across the country. Some of the GSM players affected by the directive include, MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile (formerly Etisalat). NCC Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Mr. Ismail Adedigba, who gave the warning at the commission’s 87th consumer outreach in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, said that severe punishment awaits any provider whose network is still carrying pre-registered SIM card. Adedigba said that this was sequel to the complaints by members of the public about the existence of pre-registered SIM cards, stressing that, “I expected to hear that all SIM cards are registered. But, I have issues with the service providers here; how did we get these pre-registered SIMs to start with?” He said, “I think your networks should have the total number of available lines and the total number of subscribers in your database, and as such, you should be able to know which SIMs are registered and those that are not; and automatically deactivate those that are pre-registered and those that are not properly registered.” He said,“But a situation where we are still having pre-registered sim cards with the advancement in technology today, is a surprise to me, and note that a severe punishment awaits any provider whose network is still carrying pre-registered SIM cards.” He urged the service providers to step up their services to save some of the frustrations their consumers are going through because of poor service delivery. While dismissing as untrue, any health challenge associated with telecoms’ masts, Adedigba said, that there is currently ‘no known cancer case or any other health challenge’ traceable to telecommunications’ masts. He, therefore, urged members of the public to save themselves from the fear that the electro magnate radiation from the network equipment causes skin cancer or any other type of disease. He said: “As a today, there is no health implication, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). So, there is no health research and well-known health implication of mast as at today. You should not prevent the service provider from deploying masts. The more masts we have, the better quality service we have. “At the NCC, we believe consumer is the king in the palace market. Therefore, the consumer must accord basic rights such as rights to be heard, right to be educated, right to redress as well as right to safety.”


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