By Emeka Aginam & Laide Akinboade
A scheme to curtail the menace of mobile phone handset theft in Nigeria was last week launched in Abuja, by the Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC. Alhaji Ahmed Joda.
With the commencement of this initiative, any reported stolen phone would be barred from any of the mobile networks in the country, thereby making that handset useless within Nigeira. All the GSM and CDMA mobile operators have already signed to move their subscribers into the system with Zain Mobile already connected to the Netvisa anti_phone theft system.
At the launch which took place at the Netvisa Nigeria Limited, office in Abuja, Alhaji Joda, who led four other commissioners of the NCC to the event, noted that the menace of mobile phone theft had become a serious problem in the country that had not only inconvenienced many people but also endangered lives and businesses. He urged all the mobile operators to connect to the system to safeguard the handsets of the subscribers in theirÂ networks.
He said with increasing complaints from people all over the country about the problem of mobile phone theft, the Commission sought for a way to stop the problem, hence the collaborative effort between the NCC and the mobile phone operators to engage NetvisaÂ to manage the system for the benefit of more than 70 Million handsets being used in the Nigerian network today.
Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Engr, Ernest Ndukwe said the commissioning signals a success story of the scheme which had taken a lot of hard work in planning and coordinating for the benefit of the nations teeming mobile phone subscribers.
â€œA lot of work had gone into getting the scheme to this phase of flagging off. We took our time to do a lot of study before initiating this scheme and we believe that based on the support of everyone, it would be a success,â€ Ndukwe stated
Chief Executive Officer, Netvisa, Mr. Prince Uchendu, said the scheme included the establishment of national database of stolen phones which will be used to curtail the perpetration of the theft in the future.
He said, â€œThis registry is in direct support of the NCC Mobile phones anti_theft initiative conceived under the thoughtful leadership of the EVC of NCC, Engr, Ernest Ndukwe. The menace and scourge of stolen phones has touched many lives in Nigeria and some, tragically.
Mr. Uchendu said the service will be at no cost to the subscribers but the subscribers are expected to register their 15 digit International Mobile Equipment identity (IMEI) numbers with the Central Equipment Identity Registry (CEIR) to be managed by the company through which any mobile phone reported stolen will be blocked from all the networks.