Chief executive officers of major telecommunications companies have been invited to an emergency meeting in Abuja over persistent breach of national security with pre-registered SIM cards.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is calling the meeting, following incidents of the sale of pre-registered SIM cards by mobile network operators.
The NCC has been under pressure to help stop crimes committed with such SIM cards, a source told The Nation last night.
“As a first step under the stricter regime, NCC has summoned an emergency meeting of operators, on Monday, October 30th, when the executives of the big mobile network operators gather at the NCC headquarters in Abuja,” the source added.
“It is expected that they will be issued a riot act by NCC Executive Vice Chairman Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta to rein in pre-registered SIM card sale across the country,” the source, who spoke in confidence, noted.
Invitations sent to the chief executive officers of the operators noted that the NCC “has continued to receive complaints of pre-registered and fraudulently registered SIMs being used for acts amounting to serious breach of national security, criminality and fraud”.
The commission is believed to be bothered by the grave security implications and the distortions that may occur in the 149 million SIM data base. It is set to impose not only the MTN type sanctions but will now go after the executives of culprit operators, who might face prosecution.
It was gathered that since the beginning of this year the NCC through its Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement has vigorously pursued agents selling pre-registered SIM cards and imposed sanctions and fines on operators.
Several joint raids with the security agents were carried out on pre-registered SIM cards selling points in Kano, Jigawa, Abuja, Lagos and others.
Apart from the huge fine slammed on MTN in October 2015, NCC has continued to sanction the MNOs for poor compliance with SIM cards registration requirement.
Documents sighted by The Nation showed that the commission last week slammed N11 million fine on Airtel, N10 million on 9Mobile, N10 million on MTN and N5.8 million on Glo for “improperly registered and fully activated Subscription Media (SIM cards)”.
NCC late last year turned its SIM registration data base to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) towards building a national data base of biometrics that can serve security operations.
The sources in the NCC said the commission recognises the importance of having a complete data base of registered SIM cards to aid the work of the security outfits, hence the renewed effort to ensure they are properly registered.