It’s untrue that 95.7m SIM cards have been rendered invalid, Says NCC

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has denied reports that 95.7 million subscriber identification module (SIM) data have been rendered invalid as a result of poor technology.

In a chat with journalists, Sunday Dare, NCC commissioner for stakeholder management, said the commission is currently verifying data of subscribers across the country.

He said the subscriber data so far captured by mobile network operators (MNOs) are being cleaned-up, verified and harmonised in accordance with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) act and as directed by the federal executive council.

Dare said it is the usual global practice for subscriber data to undergo the normal process of verification.

“The operators, at the point of registration, are expected to capture specific data – biometrics (picture and fingerprint), name, address etc. Once they capture it, they put it together, and from time to time, they send it to NCC through secure electronic means,” he said.

The NCC commissioner explained that upon getting the data to the central system, the commission verifies what has been submitted by the operators as has always been the case.

According to him, “we issued subscriber registration regulations in 2011 together with registration specifications and these have remained substantially the same since then.

“What we now have is an additional layer of verification via a presidential directive and an enabling law – that all data-collecting agencies of government should harmonise their data with NIMC – because statutorily it is only NIMC that has the powers to create a national citizens’ database. So, NCC falls within the category of data collecting agencies.

“So, as we collect SIM registration data, FRSC collects (for drivers’ licence), immigration collects (for International Passport), etc. – they said to submit everything to NIMC.”

Dare added that there is no “serious problem” with SIM data, as the NCC is working with network operators to correct any identified gap.

“In simple terms, NIMC has a statutory duty to create a national citizens’ database and it has been approved by FEC that NCC and all data collecting agencies should submit their data to NIMC for harmonization,” he said.

“Don’t forget that INEC has over 88 million records of peoples’ data for permanent voters card (PVC) – the same way we also have data of people that have SIM cards.”

 

Samson Oyedeyi

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