Again, FG plans to register new mobile phones before use

Barely a few months after debunking reports of its plans to enforce regis­tration of telecom subscribers’ Inter­national Mobile Equipment Identity, (IMEI), there are indications that the Federal Government is again coming up with the plan.

But this time, new phone users are expected to compulsorily register their phones’ IMEI before their lines can be activated by their respective telecoms service providers.

According to the President of the National Association of Tele­communications Subscribers, (NATCOMS), a body repre­senting telecoms customers in Nigeria, Deolu Ogunbanjo, who disclosed the new move by the Federal Government to newsmen, the indus­try regulator is holding a series of meetings in preparation to issue the order.

Ogunbanjo decried the planned action of Nigerian Communications Commis­sion, (NCC), saying that it would compromise the privacy rights of the subscribers.

Speaking with newsmen, a dealer at the popu­lar Computer Village in Ikeja, who simply identified himself as Christopher, said several at­tempts had been made in the past to stop the importation and patronage of substandard phones in the country without much success.

While the alleged move is not peculiar to Nigeria, the pro­cess for the implementation or enforcement of the initiative in other countries where this ini­tiative was carried out, had hu­man face, massive sensitisation and enough timeline was given.

Recall that in May, this year, in reaction to several media reports of a directive by the Federal Gov­ernment given a marching order to telecom operators to ensure that their respective sub­scribers submit IMEI of their phones with effect from July 2021 or be deactivated, the in­dustry regulator, NCC, denied the report.

Despite the debunked re­port, some Nigerians have not been comfortable, believing that their phone details might have already been captured.

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