SIM: NATCOMS appeals for age limit review


President, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Mr Adeolu Ogunbanjo has urged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to reconsider the age limit to own a Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card.

Ogunbanjo, who made the appeal in an interview on Friday in Lagos, suggested that the age limit be pegged down to 15 years.

The NCC, in a draft copy of its modified registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations released on Oct. 5, indicated that Nigerians below the age of 18 would not be allowed to own SIM cards.

But Ogunbanjo, in his argument, posited that limiting SIM cards to people that were 18 years or above would have negative impact on education.

“Internet services provide by the telecommunication companies have had a huge impact on students’ performances in the COVID-19 era.

“Pegging the age limit at 18 years will affect students in secondary schools, especially those between ages 15 and 17, who are preparing for secondary school certificate examinations.

“It could also pose a challenge to some states that have yet to commence full physical classes for those in primary and secondary schools.

“Teaching in many schools is still done online. Pupils and students cannot participate in the programmes without owning their linese.

“The age limit could lead to the serious collapse of the education system in the country. It is something that must be revisited and reviewed,” he declared.

He said that the review was particularly necessary in crises-ridden states where students could not move freely to schools.

Ogunbanjo expressed the fear that parents would be forced to register more than three lines so as to have enough to share among their children, if the age limit was maintained as proposed.

But Mr Taiwo Adewole, a technology expert, who also spoke on the proposal, said that it was in line with international standards.

“Internationally, only children above the age of 18 are considered adults, stable, mature and able to take right decisions that will favour them.

“I support the policy proposed by NCC because at age 18, international standards believe that such a person is liable to make decisions without being influenced, and be, thus, responsible for any action taken.

“It is a legal age accepted. So, it should be the right age children are allowed to a phone line,” he said.