Nigeria bans Citizens under 18 from owning and registering SIM Cards

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disqualified people under the age of 18 from registering and owning SIM cards.

The commission announced the new regulations during the public inquiry on three regulatory instruments on the rulemaking process in Abuja.

The regulatory instruments include registration of telephone subscribers regulation, the SIM replacement guidelines and the spectrum trading guidelines.

“Subscriber’ means a person not below the age of 18 years who subscribes to communications services by purchasing a subscription medium or entering into a subscription contract with a license,” the commission said.

The regulations were made in line with the powers conferred upon the commission by section 70 of the Nigerian Communications Act,2003.

In accordance with Section 57 of the Act, the NCC conducted a public inquiry on the registration of telephone subscribers regulations, alongside the draft SIM replacement guidelines and the draft spectrum trading guidelines at its head office in Abuja on Tuesday.

The regulation withdraws licence from “subscribers registration solution provider” who is usually contracted by the NCC for conceptualization, design, development and delivery of registration solutions which covers all licences and providing detailed subscribers information in a manner facilitating seamless integration into central database.

Also, independent registration agents will no longer have access to subscriber information.

This means these regulations will affect everyone using a SIM card for communications in Nigeria and anyone who uses a Nigerian number outside the country or diaspora.

At the public inquiry, operators, including MTN, urged the commission to revise the age limit to 14 years and above, however, NCC, insisted on 18 years and above for anyone who wants to own and register a SIM in Nigeria.