Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, weekend, said the nationwide registration of SIM cards will enhance the national quest for a robust citizen identity register.
Juwah, who spoke at the Security Summit organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser and the JK Randle Professional Services in Lagos, said the beauty of the project was that it will “enable the country to own a Central Data Base of all SIM cards in the different networks, along with details of their owners.
“When a crime is committed, security agencies will access the data base rather than have to apply in writing to different operators, which may result in delays that negates the urgency and secrecy required for criminal investigations,” he said.
Juwah who spoke through his Chief of Staff, Mr. Jerry Ugwu informed the audience that it is pertinent to note that the Commission took this national responsibility at the behest of the nation’s security agencies who reported that the manner in which mobile phone services were being acquired and used without proper identification has become one of the causative factors in increased criminal activities across the country. Arrangements are being concluded to commence the registration very soon, he said.
At the event in which the National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoye Azazi gave detailed plans by the government to address all the security challenges facing the country, especially with the approach of the elections, citing SIM registration as one of the critical measures, Dr. Juwah said “In making further analysis and consultations, the Commission became very convinced that registration of SIM Cards with full biometric identity of every subscriber in the network will go a long way in assisting the security agencies to fight crimes against lives and properties”.
He noted that the registration will also contribute more to national planning as it will enhance the project of citizenship identity registration as well as provide other relevant agencies of government with a tool for planning for development, which indirectly, contribute to provision of security.
In apparent reference to the plans of the Commission to establish a data base and hand over to the National Identity management Commission, Dr. Juwah said “SIM Card registration provides a good opportunity for the nation to accelerate the achievement of a National Registry of its Citizens which has eluded this nation for a long time.
“This is why the Commission is collaborating with the National Identity management Commission, NIMC so that we can develop a secure register of citizens as an important infrastructure for national economic transformation and security”, he said.
The NCC boss also said that the Commission, in conjunction with the Office of the National Security Adviser, has commenced the process of enhancing the capability of all Telecommunications network to enable efficient monitoring of criminal activities, with the purpose of detecting and neutralizing such activities before they are perpetrated and that SIM registration is a key prerequisite to this project.
Dr Juwah also listed other projects of the Commission which will contribute to national security of lives and properties to include the ongoing establishment of Emergency Communication Centres, ECC, being implemented by the Commission with centres sited in all the 36 state capitals and Abuja.