The Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami recently directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to block over 9 million improperly registered SIM cards in circulation in the country, until the users present themselves.
It was gathered that Pantami gave the directive as the Nigerian government battles to clamp down on illegal SIM cards used by criminals such as kidnappers and Internet fraudsters.
Upon assumption of office, the Minister of Communications had requested all agencies and departments under his purview, including the NCC to submit reports on their baseline short-term performance targets.
The report by the NCC and signed by its executive vice chairman, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, contained precise figures of improperly registered SIM cards in use around the country.
The Commission in its report disclosed that an estimated 9.2 million SIM cards did not comply with the proper procedures of SIM registration.
The investigation which was carried out at the behest of the minister exposed, for the first time in the telecoms history of Nigeria, in precise detail, the magnitude of defaulters.
Reacting to the report, Pantami expressed concern over the security implication of this discovery and further directed that the telecoms regulator, should with immediate effect, ensure that all improperly registered phone numbers are duly re-registered.
To ensure maximum compliance, Pantami directed NCC to ensure all mobile network operators block all SIM cards that do not meet proper registration standards until users comply with proper re-registration procedures.
“The security implication of this irregularity is too grave to ignore and the Federal Ministry of Communications will not tolerate any actions or inactions that will compromise the nation’s security,” said Pantami in a statement.
Meanwhile, there are Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes provided by telecoms operators and the NCC to verify the registration status of a mobile number.
Confirm your mobile number(s) registration status to avoid being blocked by NCC
MTN – dial *789*1#
Airtel – dial *746#
9mobile – dial 746 or 200
Glo – text REG to 746 or 3456
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