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NCC Not Disqualifying Nigerians From Getting SIM

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Nigerians Below 18 Years No Longer Eligible To Get SIM Cards - NCCNigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says reports claiming that the agency is limiting the age to get a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) is still a draft proposal, not an approved one.

In a statement on Wednesday, NCC Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde described the report, which claimed it planned to stop access to SIM cards by Nigerians below 18 years as misleading, inaccurate and mischaracterisation of the proceedings of Public Inquiry on the Reviewed/Draft Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations, which took place on Tuesday, October 6, 2021.

The Commission said parents and guardian can acquire SIMs for their children and wards under 18 years, but be ready to take responsibilities for whatever might happen thereafter.

NCC said it considered it necessary to set the record straight for the purpose of serving existing and potential telecom subscribers , investors and other stakeholders in the industry accurate information for making informed decisions.

It explained that in accordance with sections 70 and 71 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003 and the Commission’s consultative engagement process, which define its rule-making process, the public inquiry was held for all relevant stakeholders to provide input on the draft regulatory instrument.

NCC stated;

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 matured mind and rational enough to bear certain responsibilities, obligations and liabilities imposed by a contract. The 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.

He said the move is to protect minors and reiterated the NCC’s drive to deepen digital inclusion in Nigeria.

The Director expressed;

The 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 that arise from the usage of such SIMs, a measure expected to also strengthen national security.

NCC added that getting SIM cards is an agreement between telecoms service providers and their customers but maintained that the draft proposal is in line with the provisions of the Nigerian law.

The proposal, the commission explained, will get inputs from relevant stakeholders before it is approved.

NCC stated;

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.

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