NCC Says No Plan To Disqualify Nigerians Under 18 years From Getting SIM Cards…

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NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has denied claims that it planned to disqualify Nigerians below 18 years of age from getting Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards.

A media report Wednesday claimed that the NCC was planning to stop Nigerians, under 18 years, from having access to SIM cards.

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.

The NCC made the denial on Thursday in a statement issued by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission wishes to categorically state that the said report is not only misleading and inaccurate; but a misinformation and mischaracterisation of the proceedings of the Public Inquiry on the Reviewed/Draft Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations, which took place on Tuesday, October 6, 2021.

“The Commission considers 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,” the statement reads in part.

NCC said 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.

It explained that the age of 18 years for SIM acquisition proposed in the draft regulation was contingent on the constitutional provision, which makes 18 years the age of consent in Nigeria.

It added that SIM acquisition was a contract between service providers and their subscribers, which required the subscriber to have proper legal status, be of mature 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 that arise from the usage of such SIMs, a measure expected to also strengthen national security.

“While the Commission is progressively pursuing digital inclusion for all, the draft proposal is intended to guarantee increased monitoring of children and shield the minors from undue liabilities in line with NCC’s Child Online Protection drive,” NCC stated.

It pointed, however, that the consultative engagement process was still ongoing as the commission was reviewing all input from relevant stakeholders in that regard and would consider and deliberate on all comments before issuing a final regulatory instrument.

“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,” the NCC appealed.

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