The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through its Enforcement Department on Wednesday in Abuja clamped down on some illegal registration centres.
The enforcement team visited 3rd Avenue and Galamida Gate in Gwarinpa Estate, and other locations within the FCT to arrest some of those registering SIM cards in uncontrolled environment.
Newsverge reports some people were arrested and seven registration machines were apprehended and handed over to the police for further investigation.
The NCC Head of Enforcement, Mr Salisu Abdul during the exercise, said that it was carried out to ensure that NCC directive to all mobile operators to provide a controlled environment for registration of SIMs was carried out.
Abdul said that NCC gave the directive to operators since November, 2016 and set a deadline of Feb. 1, for compliance.
“A controlled environment means a permanent structure which can be traced and a location that can be identified and all registration agents manning the structures must have identities as well,’’ he said.
He said that the controlled environment should be a permanent structure, a building that must be traced and not umbrella or kiosk.
According to him, in case there are incidents such as armed robbery or kidnapping due to pre-registration of SIM cards, those under umbrellas or kiosk cannot be traced.
He said that the environment must have the logo of the mobile network operator.
“In view of the fact that the deadline given to the mobile operators has ended on Feb. 2, this enforcement team is going round to find out whether network operators have disengaged agents registering SIM cards outside the controlled environment.
“So, as you have seen today, we went to Galadima Gate and 3rd Avenue all in Gwarinpa and we are here now and all the locations we have visited are not controlled environment, they are umbrellas and kiosks.
“Which are part of the prohibition under the directive by NCC and the operators are to enlighten their agents of the new law,’’ he said.
He said that the contravening the directive would attract N5 million and a further sum of N500,000 daily for as long as the operator refused to pay within the stipulated deadline.
Abdul said that further monitoring would be carried out in the approved environment by NCC to ensure that all the features contained in the directive were complied with.
He said that the directive was given by NCC following the use of pre-registered SIM cards to commit crimes, adding that national security would not be compromised.
“These agents if they register you and if there is any problem, you cannot trace them; we want to create an environment where any registration done it can be traced.
“This is the commencement of the exercise, we have gotten the list of the approved centres from mobile network operators, so we will continue to do monitoring as well as enforcement exercise,’’ he said.
Mr Abraham Adeniyi, one of those arrested, said that he was actually into trading in kitchen utensils but was just doing the registration business on a part time basis.
He said that although he was not a licensed agent, he had been helping his brother to register SIMs.
“I have been involved in registration business for some time now because I have a brother who is actually the one that owns the business. I am just a Nigerian that needs money,’’ he said.