The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that while it is not planning to disqualify Nigerians below 18 years of age from getting Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), it is however asking parents of such children to acquire the SIMs on their behalf.
In a statement today clarifying the news about the Commission’s move to bar such category of Nigerians from possessing the SIMs, the Public Affairs Director of the Commission, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde said: “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, be of matured mind and rational enough to bear certain responsibilities, obligations, and liabilities imposed by a contract.
“The proposal is, therefore, to protect minors. 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, a measure expected to also strengthen national security.”
Dr. Adinde said that while the Commission is progressively pursuing digital inclusion for all, the draft proposal is intended to guarantee increased monitoring of children and shield the minors from undue liabilities in line with NCC’s Child Online Protection drive.
He said that the consultative engagement process is still ongoing, as the Commission is reviewing all input from relevant stakeholders in this regard and will consider and deliberate on all comments before issuing a final regulatory instrument.
He described the report in the media, of the ban on 18 years possessing SIM as misleading and inaccurate ss well as a misinformation and “mischaracterisation of the proceedings of the Public Inquiry on the Reviewed/Draft Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations, which took place on Tuesday, October 6, 2021.
“The Commission considers it necessary to set the record straight for the purpose of serving existing and potential telecom subscribers, investors and other stakeholders in the industry accurate information for making informed decisions.
“We appeal to our media stakeholders to always fact-check their stories pertaining to telecoms regulatory issues and seek necessary clarifications for informed and accurate reporting as the Commission runs an open-house system.”