Minister Calls for Integration of SIM Cards with National ID
VON-Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami at the Annual Cyber Security Conference organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami has called on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to link up Sim cards registration to National Identification Card (ID Card) and Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Dr Pantami said this would help to curtail criminal activities and ensure Nigeria is protected.
The Minister made the call while inaugurating the Governing Board Chairman of the NCC, Professor Adeolu Akande and a non Executive Commissioner, Chief Uche Nwude in Abuja.
He said;”Try to see how our sim registration will be linked up to our national identification card. We cannot allow criminals to continue to use telecom networks to perpetrate crimes. Many lives will be lost if we do not do this. Let us ensure our country is protected and ensure that our platform is not use to commit crimes. We do hope you will hit the ground running.”
The Minister disclosed that according to a report by NCC, the recent verification of 9.4 million Sim cards revealed that one person had 57 registered Sim cards in one network.
The Minister had in September last year ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission to review the registration of about 9.4 million Sim cards across the country suspected to be improperly registered.
The order came as a result of of increase number of kidnapping and other forms of crimes in the country.
Dr Patami while enumerating the achievements recorded during the review exercise tasked the NCC Board to totally sanitise the industry of improperly-registered Subscriber Identification Number (SIM) cards and to develop regulations on the number of SIM cards an individual or organisation can have at any particular time.
‘‘After that the President has directed me and the security agencies to consolidate on that achievement. Part of what you must address is to ensure that Nigerians do not have difficulties in Sim registration. In the document, we said a person can own three Sim cards. Look at it and find out if the number should be retained or increased,” he stressed
Dr Pantami challenged the new board to brace up for the challenges ahead, saying the appointment should not be seen as a privilege, but as a responsibility and the primary interest of the board should be the primary interest of Nigeria.
He further advised the board members not to interfere with the running of management of the commission, stressing that “it is the responsibility of the management to run the day to day work, that there should not be conflict, we should maintain our demarcations.”
On behalf of other board members, the Chairman, Professor Adeolu Akande expressed his appreciation to the Nigerian President for the appointment and pledged his commitment to the objectives of the mandate of the Commission.
Professor Akande said that the telecommunication sector would improve its contribution to the GDP and enhance the status of the security architecture of the country.
“The board will achieve the objectives and its mandate. The NCC has a huge role to play majorly in the security of the country, we will work in harmony,”he added.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Profesors Umar Danbatta also pledged to actualise the mandate, saying that if the problem of communication could be tackled then the problem of insecurity would be reduced.
With the swearing-in of Akande and Onwude, the NCC now has a fully-constituted Board of Commissioners as stipulated in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003, and all the six Geopolitical zones are represented on the Board.