…says parents can register SIM for minors
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has clarified its new regulation instrument on the registration of telecommunication subscribers’ regulation, saying it is not disqualifying Nigerians below 18 years from getting the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM).
A statement by the commission’s director of public affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said the commission considers it necessary to set the record straight to provide accurate information for existing and potential telecom subscribers, investors and other stakeholders in the industry.
Although he said the proposal of 18 years for SIM card registration was to protect minors, he also pointed out that parents and guardians can register with their names on behalf of minors.
“In accordance with sections 70 and 71 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and the commission’s consultative engagement process, which define its rule-making process, the public inquiry was held for all relevant stakeholders to provide input on the draft regulatory instrument.
“The age of 18 years for SIM acquisition proposed in the draft regulation is contingent on the constitutional provision, which makes 18 years the age of consent in Nigeria. Also, SIM acquisition is a contract between service providers and their subscribers, which requires the subscriber to have proper legal status, be of matured mind and rational enough to bear certain responsibilities, obligations and liabilities imposed by a contract.
“The proposal is, therefore, to protect minors. Parents and guardians can acquire SIMs in their names on behalf of their children and wards; in which case they assume whatever responsibilities or liabilities that arise from the usage of such SIMs, a measure expected to also strengthen national security,” the statement said.
While the commission is progressively pursuing digital inclusion for all, the draft proposal is intended to guarantee increased monitoring of children and shield minors from undue liabilities in line with the NCC’s Child Online Protection drive, the statement explained.
“However, the consultative engagement process is still ongoing, as the commission is reviewing all input from relevant stakeholders in this regard and will consider and deliberate on all comments before issuing a final regulatory instrument.
“We appeal to our media stakeholders to always fact-check their stories concerning telecommunication regulatory issues and seek necessary clarifications for informed and accurate reporting, as the commission runs an open-house system,” it added.