Distinguished Guests, Gentlemen of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am delighted to flag- off SIM Card Registration Project of the Nigerian Communications Commission.
This event is very significant in many ways. First being that this nation has been waiting for the day when all the SIM Cards in use in the country are registered, and the identity of the owner of every line is known. This is done in other parts of the world and Nigeria wishes to be like other progressive nations of the world.
Another significance of this is the achievement of a Central Data base for all mobile phone users in Nigeria. Today, therefore, marks a major step taken by the NCC, to bequeath to our dear nation, an important tool, a pool of data that will assist other agencies of government, especially the security agencies, and the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, etc in carrying out their jobs in the national interest.
Today, SIM Card Registration will begin simultaneously across the country. Deployments of materials have begun nationwide. Although challenges are not unexpected in an exercise of this nature, we will make every effort to minimize and overcome such challenges as they occur.
We currently have over 89 million active lines in the national telecommunications network and after six months from today, all these lines are expected to be registered.
The registration exercise will last for a period of six months and registration centres will be deployed all over the country and all subscribers will find a centre close to their abode to register their SIM Cards.
As we have said in our messages in the media, users of mobile phones in Nigeria must register their SIM Cards with NCC appointed SIM Card Registration Agents’ Centres nationwide. All SIM Cards, irrespective of the network, can be registered in one spot where the SIM card registration Centres are located.
As deployments of registration centres continue, we shall endeavour to provide information about their locations using the appropriate media of communications, including the print and the electronic media. Information will also be provided in local languages to ensure that nobody is left out of this exercise.
No Nigerian, or visitor to Nigeria, using mobile phones, is exempted from this exercise. At the end of six months of this registration, all unregistered SIM Cards will be disconnected from the various networks.
You may be aware that the NCC arrived at this point after a wide range of consultations with all the relevant stakeholders resulting in the establishment of a common standard platform for biometric method of SIM Registration and the institution of the necessary regulation guiding the nationwide registration of SIM Cards.
The importance of SIM Card registration cannot be overemphasized, especially at this time of our social, political and economic development and the need to mitigate the current security challenges perpetrated through the use of mobile phones. We therefore urge the Nigerian public to cooperate to ensure the success of the exercise.
Let me express our gratitude to Mr. President, and Members of the National Assembly, for supporting the implementation of this project for the benefit of our fatherland.
I thank you all for joining us today to make this project a success.