This development means that the telecommunications regulatory agency may soon send the owners of the SIM cards back to registration centres where their details would be properly captured.
The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Sunday Dare, made the disclosure of improper SIM registration at a regional sensitisation workshop in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, according to a statement made available to the press in Abuja on Tuesday.
Represented at the forum by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement at the Commission, Efosa Idehen, Dare while speaking on the dangers of fraudulently preregistered SIM cards, said those who indulged in the illegal activity would be charged for felony, adding that they risked 25 years’ imprisonment as prescribed by the law.
According to him, since the SIM registration exercise started in 2011, a total of 151,449,837 registration data of subscribers had been processed, with only 55,749,652 records valid, making 63.2 per cent of the total records invalid based on invalid face capturing and fingerprints.
He said once an agent engaging in preregistered SIM cards was arrested, the culpability could extend to other players in the SIM registration value chain including the super agents, the heads of marketing of mobile network operators and the chief executives of the mobile service provider.
Dare insisted that the right things must be done by the registration agents and their MNOs to curb the dangers posed by the menace.
He added that the new moves follow eight years of continuously fighting cases of fraudulently-registered or activated SIM cards by the commission starting from 2012, without appreciable compliance by the MNOs and their different layers of registration agents across the country.
He said that the failure constituted threats to national security and jeopardised national interests.
Dare listed several sanctions provided in the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations 2011 for improperly-registered SIM cards to include the imposition of N1m on a person found to be dealing with subscriber information in a manner inconsistent with the regulations, arrest and prosecution.