The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that Nigerians will begin the submission of International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of their phones from July, 2021.
NCC stated that this is in line with the commission’s Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.
The Commission also said the latest move is in compliance with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari. The president had directed that all the Device Management System be implemented within three months.
The Device Management System is a Centralised Equipment Identity Register which is aimed at curtailing sale of fake phones and to discourage mobile theft and several others.
This was contained in a statement by the NCC.
The statement partly reads, “With the aim to curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile phone theft, enhance National Security, protect consumer interest, increase revenue generation for the government, reduce the rate of kidnapping, mitigate the use of stolen phones for crime, and facilitate blocking or tracing of stolen mobile phones and other smart devices, one of the means to achieve this is through the deployment of Device Management System.
“The implementation of a Centralised Equipment Identity Register otherwise known as Device Management System will serve as a repository for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity and owners of such devices.
“IMEIs that have been reported as either stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators and service providers.”
The IMEI number is referred to as a mobile phone’s fingerprint. It is a 15-digit number which is unique to each phone.
According to IT experts, the IMEI number helps to track a stolen phone or any phone being linked with fraud.
With this recent move by the NCC, the Commission will have the National Identity Number (NIN) and the IMEI of every Nigerian.
Meanwhile, the development has been eliciting sundry reactions from Nigerians, who are expressing concerns about the directive of the NCC.
The NCC is an agency under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, which is headed by Isa Pantami. The Minister has been in the news in recent times over some of his past comments allegedly suggesting he has link with some terrorists groups, hence, his past expression of sympathy to their cause.
Since the unearthing of the controversial statements, Nigerians have been calling for Pantami to resign or be sacked over his past comments which supported the activities of terrorist groups like Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Some Nigerians have said that Pantami could not be trusted and should not be trusted with the massive data of the country.
But the Presidency has since backed the Minister, saying that he is now a changed man.
Meanwhile, Nigerians’ reactions to this latest directive by the NCC suggest the commission may find it difficult to get Nigerians to submit their IMEI, unlike the NIN registration.
- Here’s how Nigerians are reacting on Twitter:
Someone can clone your phone,
Someone can listen to your calls,
Someone can track your location,
Someone can get all your messages,
Someone can empty your bank account,
They can impersonate you
And defraud people in your name.
Pls go ahead: Give your IMEI to Pantami.”(@Drolufunmilayo)
“We did NIN, we did BVN now they want us to drop our phone’s IMEI number. Very soon they would tell us to put Buhari portrait in our homes for one reason we don’t know yet.”(@iamseunalaofin)
“Isa Pantami and his fellow camels at NCC say they need our IMEI. Nigerians are not bothered because las las we will use IMEI from our Motorola blade and Nokia Asha 201 to register it. Buhari you think say you dey wise?”(@VictorIsrael_)
“The tyrannical federal government of Nigeria has now demanded for our IMEI numbers in order to identify and track us via our phones. This demand by the NCC is a violation of our privacy and is ILLEGAL.. our ‘supposed’ consitution stands against such intrusion on our privacy.” (@rusticfunmi)
“If I submit my phone IMEI number to this useless government. Let me bend. From BVN to NIN and now IMEI yet the country’s security is still shit!!!!”(@Irunnia_)
“This madness ends here. It is actually lawful to disregard an unconscionable order that breaches the constitutionally protected rights and privacy of the citizenry. The alleged demand for citizens’ IMEI is an overreach that must be resisted by all and sundry. #EndImpunity”(@segalink)
“My phone, my IMEI is my private property. I bought it with my hard-earned, taxed money.”(@ayemojubar)
“Isa Pantami have access to our NIN, now NCC is mandating Nigerians to submit IMEI of phones from July 2021. I hope FG won’t be mad if people don’t comply with this IMEI directives, because when people asked for the resignation of Isa Pantami for his extremism, FG didn’t comply.”(@UNCLE_AJALA)