By Emmanuel Aziken
ABUJAâ€”The Senate has flayed procedures being adopted by the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, to register all mobile telephones in the country and directed it to immediately retract its plans.
Though supportive of the registration of the Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) Cards, the Senate is, however, strongly opposed to the NCCâ€™s plan to use intermediaries to conduct the registration scheduled to commence in March.
â€œI am opposed to the use of external companies to handle that registration,â€ Senator Sylvester Anyanwu, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications told Vanguard in response to plans by the NCC to use intermediary companies to conduct the registration.
Registration of SIM cards is being touted as a means to check kidnapping and associated crimes facilitated through the use of mobile phones. It is also envisaged that SIM card registration could achieve the long expected number portability, a scheme under which a mobile number could be transferred from one network to the other.
To enact law on SIM registration
Giving the committeeâ€™s position on the issue, Senator Anyanwu said: “We are coming up with a law on this SIM registration and it includes who should register the SIM card. We think that the providers who own these numbers should register their subscribers because if any of the subscribers commit an offence with the phone it is the providers that will give us the details of those numbers and how to trace those calls.â€
â€œBut bringing in an outsider to go and register at that level, there will be a serious conflict in terms of releasing information,â€ Senator Anyanwu (PDP, Imo North) said.
â€œSo to commit the subscribers we must get them to register and you must remember we have had failed registrations like the National Identity Card and even driving license people will forge them, but the network cannot forge such.â€
â€œSo, a law is coming and I will advise the NCC that the way that they are going is not the way they should go and they should retract and get the providers to do the registration.
None of these outsiders should get involved because you cannot control the information. Information about individuals are classified so, we cannot allow outsiders who donâ€™t have a stake to handle such, because if the providers mess up with people’s information they stand a risk of either suspending their license or being sued,â€ he affirmed.