21st June, 2012
No fewer than 12 vendors have been arrested by the enforcement team of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) for selling pre-registered SIM cards in Benue, Kogi and Niger.
Malam Salisu Abdul, the leader of the enforcement team, disclosed this to newsmen in Minna on Thursday,
He said his team in collaboration with the police had arrested five suspects each in Niger and Benue, while two others were arrested in Kogi.
Abdul said the suspects were found in possession of pre-registered SIM cards of all the four major GSM network providers and were selling them to members of the public, adding that the sale of pre-registered SIM cards is a criminal offence.
The team leaders said this was because criminals could use such SIM cards to commit crimes and cover their trail to avoid arrest. Abdul said the team was able to discover the illegal vendors in all the states they visited.They did this by recharging and making calls with the SIM cards purchased from such vendors, minutes after they were purchased from the suspects.“Holders of unregistered SIM could only receive calls but could not make calls or recharge until the SIM is registered but we were able to make calls within minutes of the purchase without registering such SIM,’’ he said.
Abdul said when the commission adopted the policy of SIM card registration; it placed no restriction as to the number of SIM cards one could register.He said this had, however, turned out to become a great challenge to the commission owing to the activities of illegal vendors.He said the enforcement exercise was being conducted all over the country at the moment as the commission was determined to mop up all illegal SIM cards.Speaking to newsmen, five of the suspects claimed they purchased the pre-registered SIM cards from the network providers that came to the town on promotional tour.The suspects, who said they were arrested in Minna, identified themselves as Salisu Abdul, Abdullahi Usman, Murtala Lawali, Murtala Yahaya and Bala Shuaibu.