Nigerian telecommunications industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has denied some news reports that indicated that it has limited the age that citizens below 18 cannot own a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM card in the country.
The news reports which was on major platforms yesterday was implied by updates in the draft copy of the modified Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations.
According to a statement by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, the reports are misleading and inaccurate. He said that it amounts to a misrepresentation of the proceedings of the Public Inquiry on the draft of the subscribers’ regulations, which took place on Tuesday, October 6, 2021.
Dr Adinde said that the regulatory item that is misrepresented is in line with the country’s constitution:
“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 to bear certain responsibilities, obligations and liabilities imposed by a contract.”
He noted that the proposed regulation is designed to protect minors and their parents/ guardians. He concludes that “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”.
This way no one will be left out and the NCC will also strengthen national security.
The regulations were made in line with the powers conferred upon the commission by section 70 of the Nigerian Communications Act,2003. In accordance with Section 57 of the Act, the NCC conducted a public inquiry on the registration of telephone subscribers regulations, alongside the draft SIM replacement guidelines and the draft spectrum trading guidelines.
At the public inquiry, it is was reported that some operators suggested that the age limit be revised with MTN suggesting that the limit be lowered to 14 but the regulatory authority insisted that it had to be 18.
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