Isa Pantami

The Federal Government on Saturday disclosed that it has blocked a total of 2,277,311 improperly registered lines.

The development followed a directive issued to the Nigeria Communications Commission by the Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Pantami.

The minister had ordered the NCC to compel the service providers to block all unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards, pending when their owners regularise their registration.

There were 9.2 million improperly registered SIM cards at the time the directive was issued on September 12, but a statement released by the Ministry of Communications on Saturday said 6,830,249 of the lines were revalidated by September 25, the deadline of an ultimatum on the regularisation of the lines.

According to the report submitted by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC on Thursday, 26th September, a total of 2,277,311 improperly registered lines have been blocked.

“Pantami has reiterated the need for all improperly registered SIM cards to remain blocked until they are properly registered,” the statement, signed by Mrs Philomena Oshodin, Deputy Director/Head Information/Press and PR Unit, said.

The statement described the development as ‘unprecedented’, coming just 36 days since Pantami assumed office as minister of Communications.

Pantami, according to the statement, commended NCC and the telecoms operators for working hard to carry out the directive in record time.

The Federal Ministry of Communications noted that it was collaborating with relevant parastatals and security agencies to ensure that the security of lives and property in the country was not compromised through the use of SIM cards.

The statement added that Pantami has also “directed that the profiles of persons linked to crime, aided and abetted by the use of SIM cards, should be promptly provided to the relevant security agencies when requested and a copy is sent to him for monitoring.”

According to the statement, the Ministry of Communications will continue to work with relevant parastatals and security agencies in the background to ensure that SIM card numbers are not used as a platform for committing crimes.