By Danjuma Suleiman.
The Director Public Affairs, DPA, at the Nigerian Communications Commission, Tony Ojobo, has reiterated the long-standing position of the Commission on the tolerance of unregistered SIM Cards by telecom service providers on their networks.
Implicitly, Mr. Ojobo warned the general public not to buy pre-registered SIM Cards from persons and businesses that had done multiple SIM Cards registration in order to resell later. The DPA was emphatic that the burden of this practice lies with the Mobile Network Operators who are expected to deactivate SIM cards that do not carry verifiable identities, becausenoperators are under obligations to have the identities of all callers on their respective networks.
Mr. Ojobo stated this in a paper titled, ‘Trackable Identity And The Ease Of Doing Business In Nigeria,’ which he presented at the Special Independence Edition of the annual Conference of Directors and Heads of Public Relations organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) at the Sheraton Hotel Lagos under a conference theme: Trackable Identity And Integrity In Business And National Reputation.
While Undertaking a conceptual clarification within the framework of the Conference theme, Mr. Ojobo stated that trackable identity is the ability to identify an individual operating or transacting business in the cyberspace. He noted that within our environment, some identity objects are bereft of digital object identifiers, thus posing serious challenge to identifying someone transacting business in the cyberspace.
The DPA explained that the SIM Cards Registration policy was instituted by the federal government as a strategic response to the challenges of identity tracking especially in the context of kidnappings, terrorism and other forms of criminality in our society and globally.
Other measures of identity tracking in our national experience as Mr. Ojobo recalled to the audience, include the establishment of the National Identity Management Commission through the NIMC Act 2007 and other extant policies and programmes such as the issuance of International travel passports,
BVN, Driver’s license, Voter’s card, the activities of the National Population Commission and the SIM Cards Registration programme supervised by the NCC.
Mr. Ojobo stated that every SIM card is a subscription on a network and NCC has over 130 million records being verified, and all of that will be transferred later to NIMC as the nation’s main custodian of identity management in Nigeria.