Pantami under fire over NCC’s directives on submission of phone IDs
Posted by News Express | 21 May 2021 | 1,269 times
•Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami
By ALAO ABIODUN
A directive by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) asking Nigerians to submit the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of their mobile phones to the commission has sparked outrage.
Nigerians are quite unclear about the purposes of the directive.
They urged the Commission to focus on how to track kidnappers and bandits who use their phones to contact families of victims to demand ransom.
But The Nation learnt that the directive is part of the new security measures to tackle crimes associated with mobile phones especially phone theft crimes in the country.
The IMEI number is the mobile phone’s fingerprint.
It is a 15-digit number unique to each phone. With the IMEI number, a phone can be tracked and located irrespective of the cellular number in it.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami who in the past weeks was at the centre of a raging controversy, was also under fire as many Nigerians vowed not to release their IMEI of their mobile phones.
Similarly, in an online poll conducted by The Nation Friday on Facebook and Twitter, over 80% said they won’t submit.
Checks by The Nation revealed that the NCC will have the IMEI numbers, NIN, and mobile numbers of every Nigerian.
The Nation reports the NCC has said Nigerians will have to submit the IMEI of their phones to it from July.
The regulatory body said this in the commission’s Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.
The NCC’s move to start the implementation of the Device Management System (a Centralised Equipment Identity Register) is backed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
A portion of the policy said, “Accordingly, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has directed that the Device Management System should be implemented within three months.”
The NCC said, “With the aim to curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile phone theft, enhance National Security, protect consumer interest, increase revenue generation for the government, reduce the rate of kidnapping, mitigate the use of stolen phones for crime, and facilitate blocking or tracing of stolen mobile phones and other smart devices, one of the means to achieve this is through the deployment of Device Management System.
“The implementation of a Centralised Equipment Identity Register otherwise known as Device Management System will serve as a repository for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity and owners of such devices.
“IMEIs that have been reported as either stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators and service providers.”
Reacting, an ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri said; “What moral right does NCC have to order Nigerians to submit their phone IDs to them when their boss, @DrIsaPantami, is a known terror sympathiser, who rejoices when non-Muslims are killed? Anyone who knowingly submits such details to a terror sympathiser is unwise!”
Elder Seun (@iamseunalaofin) tweeted, “We did NIN (National Identification Number), we did BVN (Bank Verification Number), now they want us to drop our phone’s IMEI number. Very soon they would tell us to put Buhari’s portrait in our homes for one reason we don’t know yet. At this stage anyone that believes in this government needs Bigi Apple to get their senses back!”
NEFERTITI (@firstladyship) stated, “NCC said Nigerians must submit their phone IMEI from July, and it’s mandatory. Obadiah Mailafia already told us ‘they will move to Phase 2 by 2022.’ With your phone IMEI, they will track your whereabouts. And Isa Pantami has access to your NIN-SIM Registration information.”
Elvis Tunde (@Tundekvng) tweeted, “I haven’t linked my NIN and I’m definitely not going to submit my IMEI to NCC and Isa Pantami. Patapata, I will relocate to Togo,”
“It seems Nigerian Government’s aim is to strip its citizens of their entire privacy, “From linking NIN with SIM cards and now we have to submit our phone’s IMEI? I’ve made one mistake linking my NIN; I won’t repeat such thing again.” Duke of Ibadan (@_AsiwajuLerry) said. (The Nation)