Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Nigeria Communications Commission, (NCC), on Monday arrested six men in Kano for being in possession and sale of hundreds of pre-registered SIM cards, which had been banned by the agency since 2O11.
The suspects were arrested during two separate raids carried out by the NCC operation unit backed by security operatives in the GSM village located at the popular GSM market in farm centre and the Yankura market in the metropolis.
The Head of the NCC operation unit Mallam Salisu Abdul said the operation became imperative following the rampant sales of pre-registered SIM cards in Kano by unregistered individuals.
Salisu said, the sale of pre-registered Sim cards is a criminal offence and the commission will continue to raid markets across the country to stem such nefarious activities.
He blamed the various agents of service providers who sell or give in large quantity of such pre registred SIM cards to individual to unsuspected prospective buyers without proper registration.
He noted that Kidnapping and other criminal activities are usually carried out with these pre-registered SIMs because there is no proper control by those agents who gave them out in large quantity to these unlicensed individuals for sale to innocent people.
According to him, the six suspects arrested would be handed over to the police for proper investigation and eventual prosecution as well as for authentication of the sources of the SIM cards,
He added that similar operations were being carried out in Lagos, Abuja, Minna, stressing that the raid is a continuous one.
“Today, we have carried out a raid, at the end of which we arrested six suspects in connection with the sale of pre-registered SIM card. It is a criminal offence to sell pre-registered SIM card. The NCC had issued a directive since 2011 that all SIM cards must be personally registered.”
He added: “Our mission is to find out how the dealers were able to procure the pre-registered SIM cards. NCC had earlier issued a directive because when you register a SIM card and fail to carry out any activity with the SIM card within 48 hours that SIM card should be reverted to inactive but if you buy and register, that is proper registration. However, if you buy and register and decided not to make a call or conduct data activity with the SIM card, that SIM card should be reverted as inactive by the operator.
“However, we don’t really know how they do it. Probably, they are breaking the SIM card, put them in their phone, make calls and return back to, indeed, I do not know how they do it. That is the essence of the exercise. So far, we have recovered more 100 SIM cards.
“We have bought one from each of the suspects, we have tested and confirmed that those SIM cards are active and they are contrary to our regulation. Meanwhile, the police would go ahead and investigate in respect of the remaining SIM cards we have recovered to establish whether they are fully registered or not.”