About 9.2 million telephone lines discovered to have been improperly registered are set to be deactivated by service providers in the country. 

The Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, yesterday in Abuja, ordered the telecommunications operators (MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9Mobile) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure that the Subscribers Identification Numbers (SIM) cards are removed from the country’s telecommunications radar until the owners present themselves for proper documentation. 

An industry source was quoted as having said that Pantami gave the directive while hosting the executive councils of both the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), who paid a congratulatory visit to him in his office. 

According to the source, who was privy to the meeting, SIMs that were improperly registered will be deactivated. He quoted Pantami as saying that the ministry gave the order towards bridging the gap in the country’s security apparatus, and most importantly curtail the growing influence of kidnappers in the country who have been using different SIM cards to perpetrate abductions and killings of innocent Nigerians. 

According to him, Pantami claimed that the National Security Adviser is interested in the matter “and ordered that the minister should act urgently before the kidnappers take over the country. ”It was learnt that during the monthly SIM audit, which the operators usually submit to the NCC, more than nine million cards were discovered to have been improperly registered. 

“Some were registered without proper biometrics, no picture, no address, among others, and as such there should be urgent update on the lines.” 

Confirming the order in a statement, Uwa Suleiman, the spokesperson to the minister, said Pantami gave the directive to all the agencies and parastatals under his purview.

He said the NCC had 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 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, has exposed for the first time in the telecoms history of Nigeria, in precise detail, the magnitude of defaulters,” he stated. 

The Guardian

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