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The House of Representative has proposed the prohibition of the resale of already purchased and registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards by Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) providers in Nigeria.
The motion was moved on Tuesday at the plenary in the House of Representatives.
Recall that in 2016, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) warned telecoms operators against the sales of pre-registered SIM cards, as the Commission asked subscribers and other members of the public to alert the Commission or security agencies, whenever such infractions are noticed.
The SIM is the card that stores identification information which restricts a particular smartphone to a specific mobile network.
After a period of inactivity, the GSM providers disconnects the SIM and resale the recycled SIM card to another subscriber.
The situation has caused a lot of embarrassment to the new owners as unknown callers have at different times even threatened the new owner, insisting the phone should be given to the “real” owner to enable the caller pass his or her message.
The situation had led to the arrest of the new owner.
For instance, in 2020, operatives of Nigeria’s Department of State Service (DSS) had arrested and detained a man identified as Anthony Okolie for purchasing a sim card that was previously used by Hannan, a daughter of then Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.
Subsequently, Hanan became a defendant in suit number FHC/ASB/CS/3/2020 at the Federal High Court, Asaba, in which the DSS and mobile telecommunication company, MTN are co-defendants.
The defendants were sued by the young businessman, Anthony Okolie, who was arrested and detained for 10 weeks at the DSS facility for lawfully purchasing the MTN SIM card, which was recycled and sold after it was abandoned for two years by Hanan.