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NCC denies disqualifying Nigerians below from getting SIM

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) at no time disqualified Nigerians below the age of 18 from getting SIM according to reports going around in the media.

The commission in a statement to BusinessDay said the age limit was merely a proposal set in the Reviewed/Draft Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations and which was brought before operators at a public inquiry it conducted on Wednesday. The telecommunication operators were asked to make suggestions to the draft regulation which would then be collated and addressed by stakeholders.

“The age of 18 years for SIM acquisition proposed in the draft regulation is contingent on the constitutional provision, which makes 18 years the age of consent in Nigeria. Also, SIM acquisition is a contract between service providers and their subscribers, which requires the subscriber to have proper legal status, be of the matured mind, and rational enough to bear certain responsibilities, obligations, and liabilities imposed by a contract,” Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC said.

Read also: MTN says Nigeria’s sim registration rule robbed it of 2.3m subscribers

The age proposal is, therefore, to protect minors. Parents and guardians can acquire SIMs in their names on behalf of their children and wards in which case they assume whatever responsibilities or liabilities arise from the usage o such SIMs, a measure expected to also strengthen national security.

Adinde also said the Public Inquiry was in line with sections 70 and 71 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003, and the Commission’s consultative engagement process, which defines its rule-making process. The public inquiry was held for all relevant stakeholders to provide input on the draft regulatory instrument.

However, the consultative engagement process is still ongoing, as the Commission is reviewing all input from relevant stakeholders in this regard and will consider and deliberate on all comments before issuing a final regulatory instrument.

“We appeal to our media stakeholders to always fact-check their stories pertaining to telecoms regulatory issues and seek necessary clarifications for informed and accurate reporting as the Commission runs an open-house system,” he said.



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