‘It is Criminal’; NCC Warns Nigerians Against Pre-Registered SIM Cards

Lagos, Nigeria – May 18, 2024 – The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has issued a strong warning to the public, cautioning against the purchase and use of pre-registered SIM cards. This illegal practice not only violates NCC regulations but also poses serious threats to individual and national security, and may result in severe legal repercussions. The NCC urges citizens to prioritize safety and adhere to legal guidelines when acquiring and using SIM cards.

On Friday, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) issued a warning via its official social media channel, stressing the risks linked to pre-registered SIM cards. The telecom regulator pointed out that utilizing these SIM cards undermines the integrity of consumer data, which is crucial for ensuring a secure and trustworthy telecommunications network. By using pre-registered SIM cards, individuals compromise the accuracy of their personal information, potentially leading to severe consequences for both personal and national security.

The Importance of Accurate SIM Registration

The Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) advisory seeks to enlighten the public about the dangers of pre-registered SIM cards and promote adherence to regulatory requirements. Proper registration of SIM cards is vital for bolstering national security and guaranteeing the responsible use of telecommunications infrastructure. By emphasizing the importance of accurate registration, the NCC aims to safeguard the integrity of the telecoms network and protect citizens from potential risks associated with pre-registered SIM cards.

The NCC’s advisory also highlights the ongoing initiatives to enhance the identification process in Nigeria. As part of these efforts, telecommunications companies have been instructing subscribers to link their SIM cards to their National Identification Numbers (NINs) in recent years. This initiative, introduced by the Nigerian government in December 2020, seeks to curb fraudulent activities and ensure the accuracy of subscriber data, ultimately promoting a more secure and reliable telecommunications ecosystem.

Enforcement of SIM-NIN Linkage

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has directed all telecommunications operators to implement a full network blockade on phone numbers not associated with a National Identification Number (NIN). This directive is a key component of a comprehensive approach aimed at ensuring that all mobile users are thoroughly verified, thereby mitigating the risk of fraudulent activities and criminal exploits. By enforcing this measure, the NCC seeks to enhance the overall security and integrity of the telecommunications sector.

The telecommunications companies have implemented two phases of barring SIM cards not linked to National Identification Numbers (NINs) – the first on February 28 and the second on March 29. To provide relief to subscribers, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has granted an extension for linking SIM cards to NINs, pushing the deadline from April 15 to July 31, 2024. This extension specifically caters to subscribers with five or more SIM cards, offering them additional time to complete the linking process.

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