The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has arrested no fewer than five suspects for allegedly engaging in fraudulently registration and sale of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards.
The Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the arrest was part of the commission’s routine enforcement activities to rid the industry of criminal elements.
Adinde said that the hitch-free operation was carried out by a team from the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Department of the commission.
He added that the team jointly carried out the assignment with operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
He said the suspects who were arrested in the Wuse area were subsequently handed over to the NSCDC, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command, Wuse, Abuja, for further investigation.
NCC’s Head of Enforcement, Mr Salisu Abdu who led the joint routine enforcement exercise, also said it was meant to sanitise the industry by driving away criminal elements engaging in fraudulent registration of SIM cards.
He said pre-registering a SIM card was an offence punishable under relevant regulations in the telecom sector and constitutes a breach of national security.
“It is criminal and fraudulent to pre-register a SIM card in Nigeria and it is an offence punishable under the law.
“Though the Federal Government recently lifted the ban on the sale of new SIM cards, it should be noted that proper registration of SIM cards and linking them to National Identity Number (NIN) before activation has now become a prerequisite.
“The enforcement activities will continue in other locations across the FCT and other states of the country,” he said.
Abdu warned those who were engaged in the unlawful registration of SIM cards to desist from the illegal act.
He said the commission would continue to collaborate with relevant law enforcement agencies in order to rid the industry of individuals, who had resolved to contravene SIM registration regulations.