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Do not buy pre-registered SIM cards, it is criminal, NCC warns

Nigerians have been warned against buying pre-registered SIM cards as it could attract severe consequences.


In an advisory note sighted on its X platform on Friday, the Nigerian Communications Commission has emphasized that the use of pre-registered SIM cards compromises the accuracy of consumer information.

“Buying pre-registered SIM cards is criminal and may lead to imprisonment, implication in identity theft, financial fraud, kidnapping and armed robbery,” part of the advisory noted.

The NCC explained that using a pre-registered SIM card undermined the reliability of data collected on consumers, making it challenging for authorities to identify and apprehend the actual perpetrators of crimes.

The warning aims to educate the public on the risks associated with pre-registered SIM cards and encourage compliance with legal guidelines to enhance national security.

The commission urged to follow the proper procedures for registering SIM cards to avoid any legal consequences.

Recall, in recent times, Nigerian telecommunications companies directed their subscribers to link their SIM cards to their National Identification Numbers.

The move, which was initiated by the Nigerian government in December 2020, in a move to streamline the identification process and combat scams.

The NCC made the linkage compulsory, directing all telecommunications operators to enforce complete network barring on all phone lines for which subscribers fail to link their SIM cards to their NINs.

There have been two phases of barring SIM cards not linked to NIN by the telcos – the first occurred on February 28 and the second one occurred on March 29.

The regulator, however, has extended the deadline for linking SIM cards to NIN (last phase) to July 31, 2024, from April 15. This extension applies to subscribers with more than four SIMs.



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