Up to 10.7 million GSM lines on various networks operating in Nigeria will be deactivated. Authorities have said the affected lines are part of a total of 38.78 million active mobile lines that were not properly registered.
In a report aired on Channels TV on 20 August, Efosa Idehený, head of compliance and monitoring unit at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said the improperly registered lines had various types of errors in their biometric registration details including “poor fingerprints and no facial information”.
Commenting on why the commission had discovered errors in the SIM registration details more than a year after it ended a mandatory exercise, Idehený said the commission had been aware of the errors since last September when the operators submitted the SIM registration information to the commission for harmonisation.
“Some of them were defective and had to be returned to the operators for proper and complete registration,” he said.
He revealed that MTN topped the list with a total of 18.6 million SIM data returned, while 7.49 million was sent to Airtel, 2.23 million to Globacom and 10.46 million to Etisalat.
According to Idehený, the operators were ordered to bar lines that were not completely registered and the subscribers with the lines were urged to complete the registration.
Telecoms companies have been ordered to deactivate pre-registered SIM cards within seven days or be slammed with sanctions.
The NCC says it did not make a unilateral decision and that the directive was reached at the end of a meeting involving the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Department of State Service (DSS), network operators and the NCC.
At the meeting, security operatives said criminals are using the pre-registered SIM cards to threaten the lives of citizens. They noted that this development is across all networks.
In line with this, telecos were directed to inform subscribers using pre-registered to register their lines appropriately before deadline.