The Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC) has warned Nigerians against buying pre-registered SIM cards, saying the dangers inherent in such act is enormous. The commission gave the warning yesterday during the 102nd edition of its Consumer Outreach Programme, which had the theme: “Mitigating Effects of Cybercrimes: Roles of Telecoms Consumers” at Mapo Hall, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. Deputy Director of Consumer Affairs (Protection Advocacy Group), Mr. Bamiji Ojo, urged all and prospective subscribers to register their SIM cards before using them, warning that anybody who uses pre-registered SIM, which had been used to commit crime, would pay dearly for it.
He said: “Don’t use pre-registered SIM. Don’t buy it. Someone must have used it to carry out crime and return it. If you buy it and you’re caught, you will be held responsible. Go and register your SIM. Nobody can use your SIM because your face and fingerprint are not the same with others,” he said. The NCC official also allayed the fear that base stations and masks caused ailments and kill those staying closer to them. He said: “Base stations don’t kill. Without it, we can’t communicate. Today, there have been some negative public perceptions and conceptions about telecoms consumers of electromagnetic radiation. It does not cause cancer,” he stated.
Also, Deputy Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Alhaji Ismail Adedigba, said the commission understood the importance of critical stakeholders in the industry. He, therefore, said that in line with the commission’s mandate to continuously educate and enlighten the consumers on industry issues, the theme of the event was chosen to sanitise telecoms’ consumers on the rising wave of cybercrime in various forms, its dangers and the roles of the consumers in reducing impacts of cybercrimes.
The Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau of the agency, Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, who was represented by Alhaji Bashir Idris, said: “The Commission is committed to using its various outreach programmes to embark on a series of awareness campaigns with a view to keeping consumers abreast of the risks associated with being online, enlightening them on safety measures to be taken once they use connected devices as simple as feature phone, smartphone and other more sophisticated Internet-enabled devices.”
Onwuegbuchulam, who disclosed that the event was being held in major cities in the country on a rotational basis, reiterated the commission’s belief that without consumers becoming aware of cybercrime trends and making efforts to ensure safe use of connected devices, cyber criminals would continue to make cyberspace unsafe.