You cannot have more than three

Spread the love

By Rarzack Olaegbe

No one wants to be restricted, especially when it comes to communication. But if you are involved in a creative project, the restriction can be actually benefiting as you would have to think deeply and dig down in order to mine the gold.

If you’ve ever faced a writer’s block, you would know what it’s like to be paralysed by innumerable opportunities. What restrictions do is to take away some of the choices available to you.

However, this may not be what the federal government has in mind when it announced it will peg the number of Subscriber’s Identification Module (SIM) cards a subscriber can have to three.

In essence, the federal government is saying you cannot have more than three SIM cards no matter your class or status.

With the pronouncement, the federal government has limited the maximum number of SIM cards you can register in your name to three. This is done  to curb kidnapping and banditry in the country.

The thinking would be that the federal government believes only the kidnappers and bandits and fraudsters have access to more than one SIM cards.

This is not so. There are many high profile individuals in the country who have more than four SIM cards in their names.

They have separate SIM for business, family members, friends, old school associates and foreign business partners.

To ascertain such individual never misses any call, one of his personal assistants would carry a battery of smart phones and follow him around. You must have noticed such a scene at a public function.

With the new policy, such individuals are now faced with a choice and they would have to find a creative way to surmount this challenge.

I am still not sure how these individuals would work around having a maximum of three SIM cards. Already, some executive in the media and entertainment industry have six SIM cards in their names.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami said the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) must revise the policy on SIM Card registration and usage by blocking all the loopholes in the current policy.

Read Also: No one can own more than three SIM cards-FG

 

It means Nigerians in the bracket of the individuals described above would be negatively affected by the change in the SIM card registration policy.

With this policy, the federal government is ready to enforce the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR).

This regulation focuses on data protection and data security. As the government tightens the noose around terrorism by restricting the number of SIM cards an individual can have, it would ensure that registered organisations develop security measures to protect data of their staff by setting up firewalls, implementing access controls, encrypting personal data and developing internal policies for handling personal data. This would be extended to telecommunication and how you and I use this infrastructure.

To drill down, Dr Pantami said the revision of the policy was based on the feedback the ministry received from the security agencies following the successful revalidation of improperly registered SIM cards last September and the blocking of those that failed to revalidate their SIMs.

The updated policy, according to him, is expected to ensure that the National Identity Number (NIN) becomes a prerequisite for Nigerians who are registering new SIM cards.

For foreigners, he said international passports and visas would be required for the same exercise. He explained that the new policy would come into effect with National Identity Number (NIN) before December 1, this year.

Dr Pantami has also directed that NCC must ensure that only fully accredited agents support the SIM card registration process without pre-registering SIM cards themselves while the eventual registration should be done by the operators.

This is an understatement as no telco would dare violate this policy again. You know, what I mean? Meanwhile, no matter who you are, you cannot have more than three SIM cards in your name.