The NCC has called on buyers and sellers of unregistered SIM cards to desist from it because if caught, they will face the law.
Speaking during a raid at Wuse Market in Abuja, by the monitoring team of the NCC, the Commission’s assistant director, Enforcement, Mr Salisu Abdu, lamented that despite regulations and directives against the sale and use of pre-registered SIM cards, operators, through their dealers, were still selling these cards.
“For some time, NCC has been trying to apply the SIM regulation so that all SIMs are duly registered. However, we have been having reports that people are registering SIM cards and selling it to the general public,” he said.
Abdu stated that the sale of such unregistered SIM poses security challenges to Nigeria, adding that four suspects caught during the raid would be handed over to the police for investigation.
“At the end of the investigation we will definitely take action against them in the federal high court. There is serious danger in doing that; it compromises national security so we have gotten report that in so many locations in Abuja and nationwide, this activity is ongoing.
“Earlier on, we were doing this exercise and we have mopped up unregistered SIM cards in the market; however, it has come back again, so the fine and sanction have been applied. Despite all efforts today, we still find SIM cards in our markets. That is the purpose of this exercise today.
“On the shop that we sealed, we are trying to find wherever they are selling unregistered cards. When we got to Wuse Market we got one – the shop we have just sealed.”
He revealed that the Commission’s agents had done initial investigation of the market before the day’s raid.
“We bought unregistered SIM, not only today. Our monitors had come here earlier on. They bought the SIM card; they tested it and it was found to be active; so today we have to come to pick up whoever is involved in selling these cards. Although he has told us that somebody is involved in selling the cards to him, investigation will definitely reveal that,” he said.
The assistant director explained that SIM cards of Etisalat, MTN and other major networks were among those seized in the raid, and said the Commission had issued a notice of intention to issue a directive to all operators to do away with all unregistered registration agents, especially those doing registration on the street.
“We are doing a lot of publicity. There is a lot of publicity going on to say that whoever buys or sells an unregistered SIM card will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law. We have been applying sanction against operators of unregistered cards; perhaps we will continue to do that in addition to what we have done today,” he added.