By Onwuka Nzeshi
The House of Representatives has indicated interest in conducting an investigation into the execution of the N6.1 billion SIM card registration project by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Chairman House Committee on Communications, Hon. Oyetunde Ojo, who disclosed this at the weekend, explained that there was need to know how the funds allocated to the project was utilised in view of the objectives of the exercise and the fact that the NCC had failed to provide answers to some of the issues the lawmakers had risen about the project.
“There have been a lot of things on that SIM card registration which we will have to look deeply into. A lot of money was spent on it and at this point in time, we have to know exactly what is on ground. We have been asking the NCC questions on the issue but we are yet to get the answers. Because before you go into number portability, you must be able to first of all identify which subscribers were registered and which were not. The deadline was September 30, 2011 but it appears that up till now they’ve not been able to conclude the exercise,” he said.
According to Ojo, the committee was in support of the registration because of its usefulness in terms of tracking suspicious phone calls for security purposes but said that the huge funds invested in it must be fully accounted for by the agency.
He argued that the proposal by the NCC to embark on another project relating to number portability was premature and cannot be effective unless the identities of phone subscribers in the country were fully captured in a secured database.
He also canvassed for the need for the National Assembly to amend the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Act to address the existing lacunas on issues of infrastructure, intervention and enforcement by regulatory agencies, multiple taxation, offences and sanctions as well as the responsibilities and rights of the service providers.