NCC Denies Barring Minors from Getting SIM

TECHDIGEST- The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has denied reports that it disqualified Nigerians below 18 years of age from registering and owning Subscriber Identity Module (SIM).

In a statement, Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, refuted reports made by a section of the media, noting that the Commission was not “developing a regulation to disqualify Nigerians below 18 years of age from getting Subscriber Identity Module (SIM).

He stated that such media reports were not only misleading and inaccurate; but misinformation and mischaracterization of the proceedings of the Public Inquiry on the Reviewed/Draft Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations, which took place on Tuesday, October 6, 2021.

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

”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”, Adinde said in the statement.

“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 the 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 arising 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.

“However, the consultative engagement process is still ongoing, as the Commission is reviewing all input from relevant stakeholders in this regard and will consider and deliberate on all comments before issuing a final regulatory instrument,’’ the statement added.

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