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‘We never asked Nigerians to submit their IMEI numbers’ — FG

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal Government has denied issuing a directive asking Nigerians to submit the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of their mobile phones to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.

A media aide to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Yusuf Abubakar in an interview said the ministry was surprised to see the story when it never issued such directive.

Recall that a report in some sections of the media today reported that the Federal government issued a directive asking Nigerians to submit the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of their mobile phones to the commission from July 2021.

It was earlier reported that in a Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration published by the Commission, the aim of this, is to curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile phone theft, enhance National Security, protect consumer interest, increase revenue generation for the government, reduce the rate of kidnapping, mitigate the use of stolen phones for crime, and facilitate blocking or tracing of stolen mobile phones and other smart devices.

The IMEI number is a 15-digit number unique to each phone. With the IMEI number, a phone can be tracked and located.

Nigerians who reacted to the development kicked against the new directive and vowed never to submit their IMEI to the NCC for any reason. For them, the government should track the bandits and other terrorists causing havoc in the country.

NCC in a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adide also debunked the media publications, saying that subscribers were never required to Submit International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) Number According to the statement, the reports in question emanated from a section of the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, which has uploaded on the Commission’s website.

The Commission, however, noted that it is in the process of deploying a Device Management System (DMS).

The DMO, it said will essentially protect subscribers against phone theft and will identify and enable the elimination of fake devices from the networks. The system will capture IMEI automatically without any requirement for subscribers to submit the same.

It, therefore, advised the general public to disregard the said publications, which it said had created the erroneous impression that telephone subscribers will be required to register their IMEI with their networks.

“The attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission has been drawn to several media publications to the effect that the Commission will require Nigerians to submit the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of their phones to it from July 2021.

“At no time did the Commission issue a statement regarding the registration of IMEI by subscribers and it has no plans to do so.

“The reports in question have emanated from a section of the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration recently launched by President Muhammadu Buhari and which has been uploaded on the Commission’s website”, NCC explained.

It further said it is pertinent to state that the Commission is in the process of deploying a Device Management System (DMS). The DMS will essentially protect subscribers against phone theft and will identify and enable the elimination of fake devices from the networks. The system will capture IMEI automatically without any requirement for subscribers to submit the same, Vanguard reported.

“The general public is advised to disregard the said publications, which have created the erroneous impression that telephone subscribers will be required to register their IMEI with their networks”, the statement stated.

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