The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 called for concerted efforts from stakeholders in the telecommunication sector especially from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other service providers in the fight against corruption.

Magu made the call through the Zonal Head of the Commission in the South-East, Usman Imam, while receiving the State Controller of NCC, Mrs. Emilia Nwokoro and her team who came on a courtesy call at the Independence Layout Zonal Office of the Commission.

He said: “We thank you for coming here, you are one of our critical stakeholders, because we know that in every criminal activity be it 419 or any other form of scam, there is an element of telecommunication involved. Today, criminals use SIM card/phone lines obtained illegally for specific time and a particular fraud after which they discard it."

According to him, “That is a problem because it gives room to commit a whole lot crimes, and that is why we are soliciting for your support in terms of regulations.”

Noting the key role telephone lines plays in cyber crimes investigations and other forms of crimes, he emphasized on the imperative for the NCC to take the issue of SIM registration "very seriously".

He said: “We are willing to partner with organisations that add value to what we are doing. The gap between us has further been reduced because of your visit which will enable us now talk directly and exchange ideas.

“If we are able to tackle telecommunication challenges and frauds, many other frauds would be stopped. The system is that bad that there is no coordinated data management system in the country. But we have to start somewhere to get somewhere. You must do a lot in terms of enforcement."

On the issue of non–cooperation from some service providers, he cited Section 38 of the EFCC Establishment Act, and warned that the Commission will have no choice than to enforce the provision of the Act in the event of any service provider’s indisposition to assist the Commission in the enforcement of its mandate and eradication of corruption.

Speaking earlier, Nwokoro said that the visit was in line with the mandate of creating and sustaining collaboration and partnership with EFCC.

She said: “I believe we have a lot of things in common regarding our respective works such as cyber crime and SIM boxing which the yahoo yahoo boys use to perpetrate their act. We are a national independent regulatory authority as far as telecom services is concerned.”

She said that NCC was concerned with and strive to achieve a high level of consumer protection as well as empowerment and also mediate between the service providers and the consumers who wish to have value for their money in terms of quality of service.

On the issue of illegal sim registration, she said: “NCC gave a guideline on what criteria to be used by service providers in registering sim cards such as being in location that are not only open but public, demanding for valid ID card which must be any of these; a national driver's licence, International passport or voters’ card. They have to take bio metric of the person being registered and passport photograph of such on a white background. If anybody is not asked to identify his or herself with any of these, then the registration is not authentic."

Nwokoro noted that SIM box phenomenon where scammers block calls, masks it and make it look like local calls in order to divert SIM charges was costing the country huge sums of money.

"The service providers and NCC are, however, doing a lot to tackle the problems and that service providers have the capacity to block users who misuse data for criminal purpose from back end," she said.

The NCC entourage included Uchenna Unigwe, Head of Admin; Okoro Ngozi, Head of Consumer Affairs; Shimmah Shammah, Head of Finance and Ikoro Ekene, a senior staff.


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