By Onwuka Nzeshi

 


The House of Representatives yesterday   faulted the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) over its handling of the N6.2 billion Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) card registration project.

Eugene-Juwah

NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Eugene Juwah

It has therefore resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the project, threatening that  the House would  not  pass the budget of NCC until the agency provides satisfactory explanations  on  the utilisation of  the fund appropriated for the cards registration in the 2011 budget.

The resolution followed a motion by Hon. Abdulrahman Terab, who expressed concern that  telephone SIM cards were still sold  in the streets  around the country long after the NCC said the SIM registration  had taken care of that situation.

Terab observed  that SIM card registration was for security  purposes and lamented  that the essence of the N6.2 billion project may have been  defeated if  SIM cards  continued to be sold freely in the streets across Nigeria.

“Criminals can take advantage of using registered SIM card to commit crime that can lead to wrongful arrest of innocent citizens by security agencies. It is worrisome that unregulated use of mobile phones has been aiding robberies, kidnapping, advanced fees fraud (419) and now even terrorism.”

Chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Hon. Jerry Manwe (PDP/Taraba), said the   inconsistency in the policy of the NCC was responsible for the continued sale of SIM cards in the streets  and urged the House to summon the Commission to explain what happened to the project.

“NCC said they will deploy the machines to the nooks and crannies of this country but we have since found out that that was not the case, especially in the rural areas. “NCC has deceived Nigerians because we still have to go the office of the networks to register, you can hardly find NCC accredited registration firms and that is not what NCC promised us,” Manwe said.

Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa (ACN/Lagos), who also contributed to the debate, said experience had shown that the  SIM registration might have been   flawed given the inability of subscribers to access some records  from registered cards  through  the service providers.

 

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