Nigeria to to start requiring prepay SIM cards to have their ownership details registered with the network operators next year, the regulator has announced. The registration process will start next March and will last six months. SIM cards that are not registered after then will be shut out of the mobile networks.
The Head of Consumers Affair at the Nigerian Communications Commission, Lolia Emakpore said "The SIM card registration is in line with complaints that the commission had gotten that mobile phones are used to aid crimes and government has instructed the commission to adopt a mode to help stop crime."
"Nigeria does not have an effective database and that is why we think six months is enough to cover the six geo-political zones in the country and even get to the local government areas," she said.
Telecoms operators are, however pessimistic about whether the process will be well conducted.
According to Ms. Emakpore, the process will require subscribers to produce their National Identity card. Biometrics will also be taken, to curb fraud, during the process of registration.
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