Isa Patanmi, the minister of communications technology, recently directed the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to block 9.2 million telephone lines.
In a statement released by the ministry, Pantami had said the lines did not meet the proper registration standards.
“The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has submitted its baseline short-term performance targets report. The report signed by the executive vice-chairman of the commission contained precise figures of improperly registered SIM cards in use around the country,” the statement signed by Uwa Suleiman, the minister’s spokesman, read.
“The commission in its report disclosed that an estimated nine million two hundred thousand SIM cards did not comply with the proper procedures of SIM registration.
“To ensure maximum compliance, Dr Pantami has directed NCC to ensure all mobile network operators block all SIM cards that do not meet proper registration standards until users comply with proper registration procedures.”
Checks by TheCable showed that network service providers have started placing partial blocks on customers’ lines with notice that they have to visit a network centre to update their registration.
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Customers on the MTN network are required to dial *789*1#.
Airtel subscribers are to dial *746# while 9mobile subscribers are advised to dial 746 or 200.
Subscribers on the Glo network are to text REG to 746 or 3456.
MUCH ADO ABOUT SIM REGISTRATION
In May, the NCC announced that it would carry out an audit of registered SIM cards.
Justifying the audit, NCC said it is “very sensitive to the fact that the Subscriber Registration Database is a veritable tool being used by security and law enforcement agencies in the detection and apprehension of criminal elements involved in heinous crimes like kidnapping, financial crimes, armed robberies, banditry, cattle rustling and other crimes which leverage on easy access to the national telecoms network.
“As such, we are determined to continue to ensure that all SIM cards are traceable to their real owners with the least effort.”
This is not the first time as a similar audit was carried out in 2011 with telecommunication companies in the country getting a deadline to disconnect SIMs with irregular registration in August 2015.
MTN, Nigeria’s largest telecommunications service provider, got a fine of N1.04 trillion for failing to cut off five million unregistered subscribers by the deadline.