The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has arrested five suspected individuals for allegedly engaging in fraudulently registering and selling Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards. The arrests, the Commission said, came as part of its routine enforcement activities to sanitise the industry of criminal elements.
According to a statement signed by the Commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, the hitch-free operation was carried out by a joint team from the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department of the Commission, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in the Wuse area of Abuja.
NCC said the arrested suspects were subsequently handed over to the NSCDC Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command, Wuse, Abuja for further investigation concerning the allegations leveled against them.
Commenting on the enforcement operation, NCC's Head of Enforcement, Salisu Abdu, who led the joint enforcement exercise, said the exercise was part of the routine activities embarked upon by the Commission to rid the industry of criminal elements engaging in fraudulent registration of SIM cards. He said pre-registering a SIM card is an offence punishable under relevant regulations in the telecom sector and constitutes a breach of national security.
"It is criminal and fraudulent to pre-register a SIM card in Nigeria and it is an offence punishable under the law. Though the Federal Government recently lifted the ban on the sale of new SIM cards, it should be noted that proper registration of SIM cards and linking them to National Identity Number (NIN) before activation has now become a prerequisite," he said.
Abdu warned those who are engaged in the unlawful registration of SIM cards to desist from the illegal act, noting that the Commission will continue to collaborate with relevant law enforcement agencies in its routine enforcement activities to rid the industry of individuals, who have resolved to contravene SIM registration regulations.
The Commission added that the enforcement activities would continue in other locations across the FCT and other states of the country.