©Blackfriars LLP 2010. All rights reserved. This document is for general guidance only. Definitive adviceshould be sought from counsel if required. Blackfriars LLP is a Nigerian law firm with a representativeoffice in Toronto, Canada.
TELECOMMS REGULATORS TOREQUIRE SIM CARDREGISTRATION IN A BID TO CURBCELL PHONE-RELATED CRIMES
September 2010 Vol. 14: Issue 9
The recent direction by the Ministry ofInformation and Communications to theeffect that all mobile telecoms operatorsselling new Subscriber IdentificationModule (SIM) cards must obtain thedata of prospective subscribers and thatall previously obtained SIM cards must be registered without delay is no doubta good policy aimed at reducing theincidents of technology related crimes.These crimes ranging from fraud,kidnapping, threats, and intimidationhave for long affected Nigerianspreventing free movement, business andsocial interaction.While acknowledging the benefits ofSIM card registration, it must not beforgotten that the successfulimplementation and continuity of thepolicy may pose a great challenge to itsrealization since there is no organizedframework in place for its functioning.For instance, countless number of SIMcards used in the country is obtainedfrom unregistered outlets from streethawkers who lack the necessaryfacilities to capture data fromprospective buyers. Again, assuming thefacilities for registration are in place,people could easily falsify theiridentities as there is no comprehensivedatabase of Nigerians that could assistin verification of identities.Regrettably, some of the telecomsoperators who have a major role to playtowards the registration are resisting theidea, probably to avoid disclosing thetrue position of their subscriber base.In the light of these challenges, it isnecessary to establish a right frameworkfor the proper take-off of the policy. Thecooperation of the stakeholders intelecommunications should be securedto guarantee success. Thereafter, welldefined and identifiable outlets thatcould return captured data to the mainoperators should be established.To solve the problem ofidentification, at least for futurepurposes, comprehensive data of birthsand deaths should be obtained andinformation collated should betransferred to a reliable nationaldatabase.For further inquiries, please contact:Dr. Ikechi MgbeojiEmail: Ikechi@blackfriars-law.comTel: +234 1 736 9797Cell: +234 807 2995 1335Fax: +1 646 536 8978