The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami says the recent verification of 9.4 million Sim cards revealed that one person with 57 registered Sim cards in one network.
The minister made this known on Thursday while receiving the new Chairman of the board, Prof. Adeolu Akande (South West) and a non executive Commissioner, Chief Uche Nwude (South East) in his office, Abuja.
He stated that this was made known to him in a report by the Nigerian Communications commission, NCC.
Recall that the Minister had in September last year ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission to immediate review the registration of about 9.4million Sim cards across the country suspected to be improperly registered.
The order came against the backdrop of increasing spate of kidnapping and other forms of crime in the country after which the Commission swung into action.
Pantami, who challenged the board to brace up for the challenges ahead, told the board that ‘there is no time for honey moon.’
The Minister who while reeling out the achievements recorded during the review exercise charged the board to consolidate on the achievements, noting that some of the Sim cards were partially completed while others were pre-registered.
‘‘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.
‘‘From information available to me, one Nigerian registered 57 sim cards in same network. There is justification for a company but this cannot be acceptable. For me, Number is key in security management. If you must increase the number, there must be conditions and a level of flexibility.’’
Pantami however, charged the board to ensure that Sim registration is linked to national ID so that all our sim cards will be linked up with our digital ID.
‘‘Also ensure that Sim registration is linked to national ID so that all our sim cards will be linked up with our digital ID. It will a great injustice if we allow criminals to use telecom networks under our supervision to watch them perpetrate crime.
‘‘Many lives will be lost if we do not allow this happen. Let us ensure our country is protected and ensure that our platform is not use to commit crime in our country. We do hope you will hit the ground running,’’ he added.
Responding on behalf of other board members, the chairman, Prof. Adeolu Akande promised that they would exceed the 99.9 percent target set for them by the minister.
In his own remarks, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta also pledged to actualize the mandate, saying that if the problem of communication could be tackled then the problem of insecurity would be reduced.
Meanwhile, the board will be inaugurated on Friday.