Reps move for tougher sanctions against illegally registered SIM cards

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By; JOSHUA I. EGBODO, Abuja.
The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a Bill proposing N5 million penalty against corporate bodies that sell  illegally registered SIM cards in Nigeria.
Jointly ponsored by Hon. Nicholas Ossai, and Hon. Peter Akpatason, the Bill also proposed six months imprisonment, or N500, 000 fine option against individuals found guilty of using the illegally registered and pre-registered SIM cards.
Leading a debate on the proposed law, Akpatason said the country was under serious security threat due to use of unregistered and pre-registered SIM cards, adding that criminals, particularly kidnappers use it as a means of perpetrating their act without being traced.
While arguing for the need to amend the NCC Actbof 2004, the lawmaker said the amendment was crucial in checking the activities of service providers, whom he accused of inundating customers’ telephone lines with unsolicited calls and messages.
“We are all victims of this as the service providers are more interested in maximising profit through the unsolicited calls and messages rather than live up to their cooperate social responsibilities.
“Some individuals and syndicate connive with some service providers to produce the SIM cards and sell to people without proper registration and this is capable of undermining the security of lives of Nigerians”, he stated.
On the sensitivity of contents allowed by some online service providers, Akpatason called for stronger regulations to ensure they complied with acceptable ethical and moral standard.
“There must be a legislation to make provision for the promotion of online safety that will require internet service providers and mobile phone operators to provide services that exclude adult content,’’ he said.
Hon.  Aminu Shagari in his contribution accused service providers of dropping calls intentionally with the purpose of charging the mobile phone users extra fees, saying that some of the pornographic contents allowed through some networks was damaging the country’s moral values.
Several other members spoke in support of the Bill which scaled second reading, and subsequently referred to the Committee on Communications for further legislative actions.

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