The commitment of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in ending the use of unregistered SIM cards for perpetrating cybercrimes and other criminal activities in the country is yielding results.
The Commission, through concerted enforcement efforts with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), as well as the Department of State Services (DSS), has secured court convictions for SIM card related offences.
The seven convicts, according to Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, were all charged and convicted at the Grade 1 Area Court Nyanya, Abuja and the Senior Magistrate Court, Kano for offences bordering on violation of SIM registration laws in the country on September 4, 2020 and October 24, 2020 respectively.
The offenders, Bako Joseph Boy, Umar Kabiru Abdullahi, Lawal Sani, Shamsuddin Aliyu, George Eze, Ayuba Ishak, and Kabiru Ali were convicted for various SIM card related offences.
The first convict Bako Joseph Boy was charged with the sale of SIM cards outside a controlled environment, while the other six were arraigned on the charge of the sale of fraudulently registered SIM cards.
The offences were contrary to section 517 of the Criminal Code Act; Section 65 (1) of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and Section 65 (2) of the NCC Act, 2003 and punishable under the same Act.
The suspects, who pleaded guilty to the charge preferred against them were subsequently convicted as charged and sentenced to two months imprisonment with an option to pay a fine of N15,000 and six months imprisonment or the option of fine in the sum of N20,000.
The arrest of the suspects followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NCC, NSCDC and DSS to strengthen inter-agency collaboration towards curbing the criminal act of registering and selling of pre-registered SIM cards in the country.
The use of pre-registered SIM cards gives cover for unwholesome activities like kidnapping, call masking, threats to life, bullying, armed robbery, identity theft financial crimes and SIM swap fraud, among others.
The NCC called on the general public to stop the sale, purchase and use of pre-registered SIM cards as it constitutes a punishable offence under the law.