The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has said that strict implementation of the nationwide registration of the National Identification Number, by the Nigerian Communications Commission, has substantially reduced incidents of banditry and kidnapping.
Pantami spoke on Thursday while rendering an account of his stewardship since assuming office, in 2019.
He said, “When I was assigned to supervise the sector on 24, August 2019; unregistered and partial registered sims were being used to perpetrate crime in the country. Nobody knew the total number of unregistered sims.
“Within less than 15 days in the office, we have engaged the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, as a regulator. We…directed them to carry out audit exercise to enable them come up with unregistered and partial registered sims. They came with around 9.4 million which is enough to populate another country. It was the first time we didn’t know the total of unregistered sims in the country.
“And we went further to direct NCC, to ensure that by 25th September 2019; that is only one month few days in office, I spent there to ensure that by end of September 2021; no sim that is not registered will be on our network. NCC as a regulator implemented that effectively.
“From the end of September 2019 to 2020, you will discover that even kidnapping and banditry reduced to the barest minimum. It was a time that hardly can you spend one month or more without hearing about kidnapping.
“The more you come up with policies to make the system effective; the more criminals will come up with another strategy to compromise the policies.”
Pantami further explained that before the introduction of the policy, some unscrupulous Nigerians working in cahoots with a handful of agents of telecommunication officials engaged in illegally preregistering sim cards that were sold to criminal gangs to perpetrate crime.
Also speaking during the occasion, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said just as the Commission and the Federal Government were working out policies to thwart plans by criminals, criminals were also evolving.