Insecurity: No improperly registered SIMs after 9.2m SIMs were blocked —Pantami

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By Ogaga Ariemu

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami said there is no improperly registered

SIMs (Subscriber Identification Module), on the Nigeria Networks after 9.2 million SIMs were blocked in September 2019.

This is contained in a statement disclosed to Nigerian NewsDirect Newspaper on 26th November by the Technical Assistant Information Technology to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Femi Adeluyi.

The statement noted that sanctions will be metted to any individual or institution found wanting.

“The attention of the Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, has been drawn to some newspaper articles which claimed that the Senate summoned him concerning the role of communication devices in national security.

“Dr Pantami awaits the official invitation and would like to sincerely thank the Distinguished Senators for their concern and support towards improving national security. The Honourable Minister has supported security agencies in their statutory duty of protecting lives and property and this is why his first action after his appointment was to issue a directive that no improperly registered subscriber identification module (SIM) be allowed to remain on our networks.

“Based on the report submitted by the regulator (Nigerian Communications Commission) on the 26th of September 2019, there is currently no improperly registered SIM on our networks. In the event of evidence to the contrary, the Honourable Minister will sanction any individual or institution found wanting.

“Furthermore, Dr Pantami wrote to all security agencies on the 14th of October 2019 asking them to collaborate with the Ministry by contacting us whenever a crime has been aided and abetted through the use of telecommunication devices. No request by security agencies for assistance in the identification of owners of SIMs used for crime has gone untreated in his office.

“The Honourable Minister also submitted a detailed memorandum to the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Nigerian Security Challenges on the 12th of February 2020.  It contained details on policies developed by the Ministry to enhance security.

“In a similar vein, the Honourable Minister has directed the NCC to ensure that they put modalities in place to tie the National Identify Number (NIN) to SIMs, as well as see to it that no unregistered SIMs are sold.  He has also directed the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to significantly scale up the number of monthly NIN registrations.  Moreover, Dr Pantami recently presented a Draft National Policy on Digital Identity for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which took place on the 11th of November, 2020. The memo was approved and will support in the provision of Digital IDs for Nigerians, thus assisting in the implementation of the Policy to tie NINs to SIMs.

The Honourable Minister wishes to assure the Distinguished Senators and Nigerians that the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is committed to using technology to support the growth of our economy and the security of our nation. To this end, we look forward to collaborating with the Senate and security agencies in this regard”, he concluded.