NCC says Nigerians will start submitting IMEI number from July, Nigerians react
The Nigerian Communications Commission has said Nigerians will have to submit the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of their phones to it from July.
The IMEI number is the mobile phone’s fingerprint. It is a 15-digit number unique to each phone. With the IMEI number, a phone can be tracked and located irrespective of the cellular number in it.
According to the Punch the directive is said to be part of NCC’s move to start the implementation of the Device Management System (a Centralised Equipment Identity Register) backed by President Muhammadu Buhari and stated in the commission’s Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.
A portion of the policy said, “Accordingly, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has directed that the Device Management System should be implemented within three months.”
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The NCC said, “With the aim 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, one of the means to achieve this is through the deployment of Device Management System.
“The implementation of a Centralised Equipment Identity Register otherwise known as Device Management System will serve as a repository for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity and owners of such devices.
“IMEIs that have been reported as either stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators and service providers.”
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According to an expert that helps the Nigerian Police track stolen phones, who pleaded anonymity, “The IMEI of a phone allows us to track the phone.
“It allows us to track the phone’s information, people the phone calls each day and the house address of the people that call on the phone.”
The expert added, “I can’t disclose how the IMEI of a phone works. It is sensitive information. Leaking the secret helps the people stealing the phone bypass the information.
“Some people already try to change the IMEI of stolen phones, but we know what to do to get the original one.”
With this move, the NCC will have the IMEI numbers, NIN, and mobile numbers of every Nigerian.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have been sharing different views on the directive on social media. A Twitter user, @iamseunalaofin said ” We did NIN, we did BVN now they want us to drop our phone’s IMEI number. Very soon they would tell us to put Buhari portrait in our homes for one reason we don’t know yet. At this stage, anyone that believes in this government needs Bigi Apple to get their senses back!!”